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MAX victims’ families renew calls for Boeing CEO to testify in court

written by Hannah Dowling | March 1, 2021
737 MAX family in flight (Boeing)

The relatives of the victims killed in the second of two fatal 737 MAX crashes have again demanded that top Boeing executives, including the current and former CEOs, testify in front of a Chicago federal court.

In a filing to the court, the families of the victims of Ethiopia Airlines flight 302, the second fatal crash which occurred in March 2019, have again requested that the court hear testimony from top executives, including current CEO Dave Calhoun and his predecessor Dennis Muilenburg, among other Boeing staff who worked at the company at the time of the crash.

The lawyers representing the plaintiffs are reportedly pushing to discover what Boeing knew about the causes of the first MAX crash, which occurred in October 2018, and why the plane was allowed to continue to fly.

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The plaintiffs are pushing to schedule depositions of both Calhoun and Muilenburg between 3 May and 18 June 2021.

While Boeing has mostly settled its case against the victims’ families of the first Lion Air MAX crash in Indonesia, it still faces over 100 lawsuits in Chicago against families from the Ethiopia crash.

In total, 346 people were killed across both fatal MAX crashes.

Separately, the Ethiopian crash victims’ relatives have also urged US lawmakers to make available internal emails and documents from the Federal Aviation Administration from the time between the first and second crash, and stated that “there is serious unfinished business” with the matter.

The families wish to better understand what the FAA knew about the first crash prior to the second.

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The letter, sent to members of House and Senate transportation committees, was confirmed to have been received and acknowledged by committee head Representative Peter DeFazio and aviation subcommittee chair Representative Rick Larsen.

“I can confirm that this week chairs DeFazio and Larsen re-upped their request to DOT (Department of Transportation) for FAA records that have gone unfulfilled to date,” a Congressional spokesperson said.

It comes less than a week after a report was released by the US Department of Transportation Inspector General’s office, which again criticised the FAA for its lack of oversight in the certification of the Boeing 737 MAX.

The office of the Inspector General found “weaknesses” in the agency’s initial certification of the MAX, and stated the agency is still yet to adequately address and strengthen its processes for aircraft review.

The report argued that while the FAA didn’t deviate from an established protocol during the process, it also failed to clarify or understand the MCAS, which was ultimately found to be at fault for the two fatal MAX crashes.

After a lengthy recertification process, and a series of safety upgrades and tests, the 737 MAX has been recertified to fly in most jurisdictions, including the US, UK, EU and Canada.

The Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority on Monday became the most recent regulatory body to give the plane the green light to once again operate within its airspace.

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