Brother of 737 Max Crash Victim Slams DOJ’s Plea Deal with Boeing, Calls for More Aviation Safety Measures

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Brother of 737 Max Crash Victim Criticizes DOJ’s Plea Deal with Boeing

In a recent development, the brother of a victim from one of the fatal 737 Max 8 crashes has scrutinized the latest plea deal between the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Boeing. Aerospace engineer Javier de Luis, who tragically lost his sister in the crash, voiced his distress over the federal government’s decision to not levy a “significant” penalty on Boeing, and not enforcing a stringent monitoring system on the aerospace manufacturing giant.

Insufficient Deal with Boeing

Javier de Luis expressed his belief that the current deal is inadequate, because it does not hold the company accountable for its actions, nor does it assure that a similar incident won’t happen in the future. Having served as a member of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Expert Review Panel on Boeing’s Safety Culture, de Luis’s statements echo growing public concern regarding the company’s compliance to safety measures.

The recent plea deal agreed upon by Boeing sees the manufacturing giant pleading guilty to a criminal fraud conspiracy charge. The agreement averts a potential criminal trial following an investigation into two deadly crashes involving Boeing 737 MAX jetliners. The company was given an ultimatum: either plead guilty and pay a fine, or have a criminal trial on a felony charge of conspiring to defraud the Federal Aviation Administration.

Boeing’s Path Forward

According to Boeing’s agreement with the DOJ, the company must invest a minimum of $455 million towards ensuring compliance and improving safety programs. Boeing will also have to pay a criminal fine amounting to $243.6 million, as part of the plea deal. However, it should be noted that this deal has yet to gain approval from a federal judge. Once approved, the agreement will categorize the plane manufacturing giant as a convicted felon.

Further, the agreement dictates that an independent compliance monitor will be chosen by the government to oversee a workforce comprising thousands of employees spread across four different states. Nevertheless, de Luis condemns this stipulation; he recommends the implementation of a wide-ranging monitoring system having a technical and legal team, capable of directly interacting with engineers, mechanics, and technicians to ensure the company’s adherence to safety commitments.

An Ongoing Fight

Unsatisfied with the plea deal, lawyers representing some of the affected families have termed the agreement as a “sweetheart deal” and have filed objections. They stressed the importance of letting the victims’ families have the final say in choosing the independent compliance monitor for Boeing. The families have also contested the DOJ’s decision of allowing Boeing to have a role in the selection process without court oversight.

Family members of the victims continue to raise their voices for justice. Javier de Luis’s sister, Graziella de Luis y Ponce was among those who tragically lost their lives when the Ethiopian Airlines flight crashed en route to a conference in Nairobi back in March 2019. He asserts that Boeing’s plea deal and lax monitoring fail to provide justice for the victims and fail to ensure such a catastrophe will not occur again in the future.

HERE Huntsville
Author: HERE Huntsville

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