- Boeing and the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) face lawsuits and federal investigations in the wake of two fatal crashes by its 737 Max planes.
- Congressional committees and federal investigators are looking at how the FAA allowed Boeing to partly certify the plane itself.
- At least three federal agencies are said to be examining Boeing and the FAA, which could ultimately change how the US aviation industry is regulated.
- Victims’ families, pilots, and shareholders are also suing Boeing, accusing it of putting profits over safety.
- Here is the full list of every investigation and lawsuit Boeing and the FAA are facing.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Boeing is being enveloped by an ever-expanding crisis, which stems from two fatal crashes by its 737 Max planes which killed almost 350 people.
The crashes left the 737 Max left grounded, and Boeing executives staring down lawsuits from victims’ families and shareholders, as well as federal investigations into how the plane was allowed to fly in the first place.
The company is scrambling to roll out a software update for the plane to get it back in the skies, but its headaches are likely to continue even after the 737 Max is cleared to fly.
Congressional committees, the Department of Transportation and the Department of Justice are looking at how the US regulatory system allowed Boeing to partly certify its own planes.
Meanwhile, a growing number of families from various countries are taking legal action against the company which built the planes their loved ones died in.
In a statement to Business Insider, Boeing said: “Boeing extends our heartfelt condolences and sympathies to the families and loved ones of those onboard Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 and Lion Air Flight 610.
“Boeing continues to support the ongoing accident investigations and is working with the authorities to evaluate information as it becomes available.” It did not comment on the lawsuits in any detail.
On the regulatory investigations, the company said: “We remain committed to working closely with global regulators and other officials on the safe return to service of the 737 Max.”
Here is every lawsuit Boeing is facing and the numerous government investigations looking at the FAA:
Lawsuits from bereaved families
A growing number of claims are being filed against Boeing by the families of victims on board the two doomed planes.
The lawsuits accuse Boeing of greed and misconduct, and say that Boeing did not inform pilots about the systems on board the 737 Max plane.
Lawsuits have been filed by families in the US, Indonesia, Kenya, France, Ethiopia, and other countries.
One French widow is suing Boeing for $US276 million – a day of earnings for the company in 2018.
Nadege Dubois-Seex, whose husband Jonathan Seex died in the Ethiopian Airlines crash, told reporters that the crash was avoidable, and accused Boeing of being “deaf” to the “warning” provided by the earlier Lion Air crash.
Joe Power, who is representing some of the families that are suing Boeing, told Business Insider that Boeing was “more interested in maximizing its profits than placing a reasonably safe product into the market place.”
Shareholders accuse Boeing putting profit over safety
Shareholders have filed a lawsuit against Boeing, alleging that they were defrauded over the 737 Max’s safety deficiencies and alleges that Boeing “effectively put profitability and growth ahead of aeroplane safety and honesty.”
The lawsuit accuses Boeing of rushing production of the 737 Max in an effort to beat Airbus, its European rival. It accuses Boeing of leaving out “extra” or “optional” features the shareholders believe may have prevented the crashes.
Fraud probe from the Department of Justice
Sources told CNN that DOJ prosecutors have issued multiple subpoenas as part of a grand jury criminal investigation.
They said that the investigation is looking at the process that allowed Boeing to partly certify the plane and the data that Boeing gave the FAA as part of that process.
The FBI is helping to conduct the investigation, according to CNN.
The Department of Transport looms over Boeing and the FAA
The Department of Transportation has asked its watchdog to audit how the FAA approved the 737 Max to fly.
Elaine Chao, the Transportation Secretary, sent a memo to Inspector General Calvin Scovel in March to formalise the request.
Chao has defended the agency for being slower than most countries to ground the 737 Max after its second crash, and now says that the plane will not fly until the FAA is “satisfied it is safe.”
The department also announced that it would form a Special Committee “to review the procedures of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for the certification of new aircraft, including the Boeing 737 MAX.”
The committee will serve as an independent body and will report back to the Transportation Secretary and the administrator of the FAA.
Chao said that “leading outside experts will help determine if improvements can be made to the FAA aircraft certification process.”
Senate investigates alleged poor training for inspectors
The US Senate has launched an investigation based on whistleblower claims that the government inspectors who reviewed the 737 Max were not properly trained.
Sen. Roger Wicker, chair of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation wrote to acting FAA boss Daniel Elwell in March to announce a probe into the training of FAA inspectors.
The Senate’s Aviation and Space subcommittee is also looking at how the Federal Aviation Authority certified the jet.
Elwell testified to the committee in March, and said that the FAA’s method for certifying planes is “extensive” and “well-established.”
A second hearing is expected, though a date has not been announced.
House considers why 737 Max wasn’t grounded sooner
On May 15, US House of Representatives subcommittee on aviation interrogated leaders from the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board over the process that allows aircraft manufacturers to be involved in certifying their own planes.
It also asked why the US waited significantly longer than other countries to ground the 737 Max following its second crash.
Rep. Rick Larsen, the chair of the subcommittee, said that the “committee’s investigation is just getting started” but said that it was already clear to him that the FAA “has a credibility problem.”
The subcommittee met again on June 20, where a major pilots union, a major flights attendants union, and Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger spoke about design issues with the plane, and lawmakers questioned the qualifications of the Indonesian and Ethiopian pilots.
SEC examines Boeing communication with shareholders
Bloomberg reported that the SEC is looking at whether Boeing gave its shareholders enough information about the problems with the Max.
A report said SEC officials are scouring Boeing’s financial documents to find out if it properly accounted for the issues that could arise with the aircraft.
The SEC declined to comment to Business Insider.
Pilots sue for missed wages and allege a “cover up”
More than 400 pilots are also suing Boeing over missed wages as the plane remains out of action. They allege that Boeing conducted an “unprecedented cover-up” of the plane’s “known design flaws.”
Their lawyers estimate that pilots have lost hundreds of millions of dollars due to the plane’s grounding, and say that the pilots have experienced career uncertainty.
Airlines clamor for compensation
Boeing is also dealing with frustrated airlines, which have had to cancel hundreds of flights due to the plane’s grounding, and face uncertainty over when the planes will return to the sky.
Airlines across the US and Europe say the plane’s grounding is costing them hundreds of millions of dollars.
Many are seeking compensation for these losses, and for further losses caused by the delayed delivery of more 737 Max planes.
Airlines including Southwest, United Airlines, Ryanair, Norwegian, and Air China are either seeking of actively pursuing lawsuits seeking damages from Boeing.
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