Star Business Writer
This is after Boeing offered to pay Federal Aviation Administration $2.5 fine to avoid fraud conspiracy charges related to the plane’s flawed design.
Kins of Kenyans who perished in the 2019 Ethiopian Airlines crash are among beneficiaries of a $2.5 billion fine slapped on Boeing for fraud charges.
The US Justice Department (DOJ) announced the deal between the plane maker ad the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) last Friday.
The payments that will see Boeing avoid fraud conspiracy charges related to the plane’s flawed design includes a $243.6 million fine to FAA and Sh1.77 billion to Ethiopian Airlines and Lion Air.
Crash victims will on the other hand receive $500 million.
This comes less than a month after the US aircraft maker offered to settle a record $1 billion compensation to families of victims of Ethiopian Airlines and the Lion Air JT610 in Indonesia.
The extra payment will see each family receive at least $1.4 million per victim on top of the final compensation agreed in December.
Manuel von Ribbeck of Ribbeck Law Chartered who represents at least 88 said that they have facilitated all the families represented from both Boeing MAX 8 crashes to get their money from two other funds previously established by Boeing pro bono
”We will represent again the majority of the families of passengers and crew members from the Max 8 crashes to collect the settlement proceeds as soon as this fund is established,’’ Ribbeck said.
In May 2018, an Ethiopian Airlines jet headed for Nairobi, Kenya crashed shortly after takeoff from Addis Ababa’s Bole International Airport, killing all 149 onboard including 32 Kenyans.
The same had happened On October 29, 2018, where Lion Air Flight 610, a Boeing 737 MAX, crashed shortly after takeoff in Indonesia, killing all 189 passengers and crew on board.
Federal Aviation Administration learned that MCAS activated during the flights and may have played a role in the crash.
The aviation administrator also learned the change to MCAS, including the information about MCAS that Boeing concealed.
Ribbeck said that they have already contacted the DOJ in order to start the process of getting these funds on behalf of their clients.
David Njoroge, Partner at Igeria & Ngugi Advocates, the Nairobi law firm that handled the crashes with Ribbeck Law has welcomed the DOJ decision, terming it a relief to families who lost loved ones.
“The loss of our clients’ kin, unfortunately, can never be reversed, but we believe that Boeing will correct its errors in future manufacturing of planes,’’ Njoroge said.
He said that Ribbeck Law, their Chicago counterparts, will immediately begin processing the extra funds for their clients, adding that they expect to conclude the remaining cases within the next three months to ensure families get compensated promptly.
The Chicago based law firm represents the majority of the families of the victims of the two 737 Boeing MAX 8 crashes in civil lawsuits against Boeing pending in the US Federal Court in Chicago.
The firm has already successfully concluded the litigation for most of the Lion Air 610 cases and has obtained a settlement for the Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 plane crash.