ADDIS ABEBA – Boeing Company is offering 100 million USD to help families and communities affected by the deadly crashes of its 737 MAX planes in Indonesia and Ethiopia.
The move appears to be a step toward repairing the image of the planemaker, which has been severely dented by the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines plane in March just five months after a similar crash of a Lion Air flight in Indonesia.
The two crashes killed a total of 346 people.
The “funds will support education, hardship and living expenses for impacted families, community programs, and economic development in impacted communities,” the planemaker said in a statement.
Boeing says it will partner with local governments and non-profit organizations to address these needs with the fund, $100 million, which is less than the list price of a 737 MAX 8.
The statement does not specify which authorities or organizations would receive the money.
“We at Boeing are sorry for the tragic loss of lives in both of these accidents and these lives lost will continue to weigh heavily on our hearts and on our minds for years to come, said Dennis Muilenburg, Boeing chairman, president and CEO.
“The families and loved ones of those on board have our deepest sympathies, and we hope this initial outreach can help bring them comfort,”
He also said: “We are focused on re-earning that trust and confidence from our customers and the flying public in the months ahead.”
The 737 MAX was grounded worldwide after two consecutive crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia.
Regulators must approve the fix and new pilot training before the jets can fly again. But just last month, Reuters reported regulators identified a new problem that will delay commercial flight for the jets until October at the earliest.