Boeing has committed half of a $100 million fund it established earlier this month to provide near-term financial assistance to families of the victims of the Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Flight 302 accidents, the company announced Wednesday. It also said it has retained Kenneth Feinberg and Camille Biros, experts in establishing and overseeing victims' compensation funds, to design and administer the fund.
Boeing’s announcement came just as the U.S. House of Representatives prepared to hear testimony from victims’ relatives, one of whom told Congress that Boeing has not issued a personal apology, calling the $100 million pledge by the company “a PR stunt.” Another family member charged Boeing with “utter prejudice and disrespect” for what he characterized as an effort by the company to blame the “foreign pilots” for the crash of the Lion Air Max off the coast of Indonesia.
Boeing, for its part, reiterated its public expressions of sympathy in a statement issued Wednesday morning. “The tragic loss of life in both accidents continues to weigh heavily on all of us at Boeing, and we have the utmost sympathy for the loved ones of those on board,” said Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg. “Through our partnership with Feinberg and Biros, we hope affected families receive needed assistance as quickly and efficiently as possible.”
Boeing said that Feinberg and Biros will distribute the funds independently from any resolution provided through the legal process.
“We know how important it is to assist the families of the victims who have endured a personal tragedy and will work to design and administer the fund and distribute the money as efficiently and expeditiously as possible,” concluded Biros.