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A ground crew member prepares to help push American Airlines flight 718, a Boeing 737 Max, away from its gate at Miami International Airport on Dec. 29. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Boeing has agreed to pay more than $2.5 billion to settle criminal charges related to a conspiracy to defraud the Federal Aviation Administration in connection with the agency's investigation into the Boeing 737 MAX, the Justice Department announced Thursday.

Why it matters: Two Boeing 737 MAX crashes killed a total of 346 people in 2018 and 2019 and highlighted massive oversight and safety lapses on the part of the airline manufacturer.

Our thought bubble via Axios' Joann Muller: Boeing, which recently won permission to resume flights of the 737 MAX, is eager to put this shameful episode behind it and managed to escape an appointment of a government monitor. But the criminal settlement suggests the company continues to cooperate with ongoing and future investigations.

What they're saying: “The misleading statements, half-truths, and omissions communicated by Boeing employees to the FAA impeded the government’s ability to ensure the safety of the flying public,” U.S. Attorney Erin Nealy Cox for the Northern District of Texas said in a statement.

Details: Per the Justice Department, Boeing admitted in court documents that it deceived the FAA about a change in the aircraft's software that affected the flight control system of the Boeing 737 MAX. The criminal charges will be dismissed after 3 years if Boeing complies, per a Securities and Exchange Commission filing.

  • Boeing's $2.5 billion fee includes a criminal monetary penalty of $243.6 million, plus $1.77 billion in compensation payments to Boeing’s 737 MAX airline customers which the company says it has already set aside — and the creation of a $500 million crash-victim beneficiaries fund.
  • The company expects to incur earnings charges equal to the remaining $743.6 million in the fourth quarter of 2020.

Go deeper

FAA will pursue "strong enforcement" after unruly pro-Trump passengers disrupt flights

Federal Aviation Administration chief Steve Dickson testifies before a Senate panel examining safety certification of jetliners on June 17, 2020 in Washington, DC. Photo: Pool/Getty Images

The Federal Aviation Administration said Saturday that the agency will "pursue strong enforcement action against anyone who endangers the safety of a flight," after unruly behavior took place on several flights to and from the Washington, D.C. area this week.

Driving the news: American Airlines is investigating an unruly and frightening episode on a flight to D.C., the night before a pro-Trump mob stormed the U.S. Capitol. Alaska Airlines said it had banned 14 passengers after a rowdy flight from an airport near Washington, D.C., to Seattle on Thursday, per Bloomberg.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
19 mins ago - Energy & Environment

Report: John Kerry plans to visit China ahead of Biden's climate summit

John Kerry. Photo: Zach Gibson / Stringer

John Kerry, President Biden's special climate envoy, is expected to travel to China next week for meetings with officials aimed at boosting collaboration, the Washington Post reported Saturday.

Why it matters: China is the world's largest carbon dioxide emitter and the U.S. is second-largest.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus cases hold steady at 65,000 per day — CDC declares racism "a serious public health threat" — WHO official: Brazil is dealing with "raging inferno" of a COVID outbreak
  2. Vaccines: America may be close to hitting a vaccine wall — Pfizer asks FDA to expand COVID vaccine authorization to adolescents — CDC says Johnson & Johnson vaccine supply will drop 80% next week.
  3. Economy: Treasury says over 156 million stimulus payments sent out since March — More government spending expected as IMF projects 6% global GDP growth.
  4. Politics: Supreme Court ends California's coronavirus restrictions on home religious meetings
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.