Boeing said it has made “broad and deep changes across our company in response to those accidents” to improve safety and quality.
“Today’s settlement is part of the company’s broader effort to responsibly resolve outstanding legal matters related to the 737 Max accidents in a manner that serves the best interests of our shareholders, employees and other stakeholders,” said the Arlington, Virginia-based company.
A new Max operated by Indonesia's Lion Air crashed into the Java Sea in October 2018, and another Max flown by Ethiopian Airlines nosedived into the ground near Addis Ababa in March 2019. In each crash, MCAS pushed the nose down after getting faulty readings from a single sensor, and pilots were unable to regain control.
The crashes led regulators around the world to ground the plane for nearly two years until Boeing made fixes to the flight-control system, which was designed to help prevent aerodynamic stalls when the nose points up too sharply. Neither plane that crashed was in danger of stalling.
The SEC accused Boeing of misleading investors in a press release after the Indonesia crash which said the plane was "as safe as any airplane that has ever flown the skies.” Boeing knew when it made that claim that MCAS would need to be fixed and was already designing changes, the SEC said.
After the crash in Ethiopia, Muilenburg said on a call with investors and Wall Street analysts and during Boeing's annual shareholder meeting that the company had followed the normal process for getting the plane certified by regulators. But by then Boeing — in response to a subpoena from federal prosecutors — had already found documents indicating that it didn't disclose key facts about MCAS to the Federal Aviation Administration, the SEC charged.
Boeing reached a separate $2.5 billion settlement with the Justice Department last year. Most of that money went to airlines whose Max jets were grounded.