Calls for Transparency and Oversight in Wake of Boeing Safety Issues

Calls for Transparency and Oversight in Wake of Boeing Safety Issues
Calls for Transparency and Oversight in Wake of Boeing Safety Issues. Credit | REUTERS

United States – Family members of survivors of two Boeing 737 MAX crashes which took place in the year of 2018 and 2019 will prompt the U.S. Justice Department officials on Wednesday, asking for criminal prosecution of the plane maker following the exposure of a January in-flight explosion that again raised safety and quality issues.

Alleged Violations of Compliance Agreement Prompt Legal Action

Prosecutors say that the relatives and their lawyers will claim Boeing (BA. N) violated the 2021 compliance program overhaul deal with prosecutors after the accident, which claimed the lives of 346 people. Federal prosecutors said they would request the judge to drop a criminal charge against Boeing on the condition that it followed the terms of the agreement and the judge dismissed the charges, as reported by Reuters.

Calls for Accountability and Oversight Intensify

Visual Representation of New Boeing 737 MAX 9 Alaska Airlines. Credit | REUTERS

In turn, a sight of losing a new Boeing 737 MAX 9 jet during an Alaska Airlines (ALK.N) flight on Jan. 5, just two days before the 2021 agreement expired. Justice Department officials are now considering that incident as part of a larger investigation into whether Boeing violated the DPA, a deferred prosecution agreement. As per information from two people who know about the matter, these are the Reuters sources.

“What we’re saying to DOJ is, throw out the DPA,” said Nadia Milleron, whose daughter, Samya Stumo, died while traveling aboard the Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 8 that crashed in March 2019. “We want them to think to themselves: This is too much. There has to be accountability.”

Their relatives believe such an oversight will guarantee Boeing’s accurate disclosure of data. With the other companies, such conditions were compared with Boeing’s, as oppo sed to some previous ones.

“If there was an outside monitor, the Alaska situation would not have happened,” Miller said.

Legal Proceedings and Justice Department Response

Boeing and the Department of Justice denied comments.

At the beginning of January 2021, Boeing Company had to pay $2.5 billion for criminal investigation of its employees in connection with the collisions. Under the agreement, Boeing admitted responsibility and pledged to compensate victims’ families and reform its compliance programs. The executive branch will take charge of distributing the funds and overseeing the implementation of the package.

Last April, Justice Department officials explained to lawyers of family members that they were checking the terms of the 2021 deal to see what conditions could put Boeing in breach of the agreement, such as when the company commits a felony or deceives U.S. officials, one of the people said.

The transaction allows the American authorities six months from the expiry date of 7th January to decide whether to detain Boeing on a conspiracy against the Fraudulent Federal Aviation Administration charge or take other alternative steps to discard the case.

They still aim to do so within that period of time with the Jan 5 inflight blowout, but the investigations that may inform their decision are yet to be completed, claims one of the people. The people agreed to talk with us on condition of anonymity.

FAA Investigation

According to one of the sources who has spoken previously to Reuters, the FAA investigation reports are the main sources for prosecutors to rely on.

As an example, the FAA is looking into the issues of the Boeing engineer who asserted that the company shut down safety and quality in the production of the 787 and 777 jets. In the last week, at a congressional hearing, the engineer said he got sidelined by Boeing when he reported his fear. It is quite impossible for Reuters to verify his assertions that Boeing has refuted.