Boeing Co. ’s $2.5 billion agreement to end a criminal investigation by the Justice Department into the 737 MAX debacle resolves one of its highest-profile problems, but the plane maker still faces other legal and business challenges.
Federal Aviation Administration officials have said Boeing faces potential civil penalties stemming from its alleged lack of candor in its dealings with regulators before and after two MAX crashes that claimed 346 lives.
Ever since those crashes, Boeing has touted the overall safety of its 737 family of single-aisle jets. An older model of the jet, a 737-500, carrying 62 people crashed into the Java Sea Saturday. The cause of the accident was unknown. Boeing said it was monitoring the situation. Pilot errors and airline maintenance lapses generally have been responsible for major crashes of such earlier-model 737 aircraft.
The Securities and Exchange Commission, which is also investigating the MAX saga, has proceeded more slowly than the Justice Department, people familiar with the matter said. An SEC spokesman didn’t respond to a request for comment.
While the company’s criminal settlement covered Boeing’s responsibility for the actions of two Boeing pilots involved in government approval of pilot training for the MAX, those former employees are still under criminal investigation.