It’s difficult enough for the families of those killed in the Boeing 737 Max crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia to return to a normal life – if that’s even possible – without having to worry about the financial difficulties and other hardships of their broken lives.
That’s why in the wake of disasters such as the crashes of Lion Air flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines flight 302, it’s critical that the families of those killed get swift and sufficient financial relief.
Last month, Boeing pledged to offer those affected by the two crashes $100 million. The announcement made a splash in the international media. Headlines around the world conveyed the message that Boeing was doing its part to help out.
Beasley Allen attorney Mike Andrews, who focuses much of his practice on aviation litigation and represents some of the families of those killed in the Ethiopian Airlines crash, recently told Ethiopia’s The Reporter that the Boeing offer is an empty gesture.
“Boeing’s recent announcement of USD 100 million is a PR stunt to attempt to sway public opinion and ignore the effect that it has on the true victims of Boeing’s greed and negligence,” Mr. Andrews said. “In the fine details, Boeing admits that the pledged money will be managed by Boeing, will be doled out piecemeal over many years, and will not be going directly to the families who have lost their family members.”
While families of those killed in the Boeing crashes can expect to see little immediate relief, commercial airlines that have suffered financial losses from the ongoing grounding of the 737 Max fleets will receive more immediate compensation.
Boeing announced that it is taking a write-down of nearly $5 billion in the fourth quarter to cover “potential concessions and considerations for airline customers.” In the U.S., Southwest, American Airlines, and United have been forced to cancel thousands of flights because of the grounded planes.
Mike is a lawyer in the firm’s Personal Injury and Products Liability section. He has represented people seriously injured in aviation crashes, and the families of those killed in both civilian and military airplane crashes and helicopter crashes. He also has written a book on the subject to assist other aviation lawyers, “Aviation Litigation & Accident Investigation.” The book offers an overview to the practitioner about the complexities of aviation crash investigation and litigation.