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Boeing pledges $100 million to 737 Max victims' families

Boeing has pledged $100 million to impacted families and communities who lost loved ones in the two deadly Boeing 737 Max crashes.

The aerospace giant says the funds will provide living and education expenses for affected families, as well as community programmes and economic development in impacted communities.

"Boeing will partner with local governments and non-profit organisations to address these needs. This initial investment will be made over multiple years," says Boeing. It adds that more information will be released in "the near future".

The loss of Lion Air flight 610 in October 2018 and Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 in March claimed the lives of 346 passengers and crew members, and prompted the global grounding of the 737 Max in March.

"The families and loved ones of those on board have our deepest sympathies, and we hope this initial outreach can help bring them comfort," says Dennis Muilenburg, Boeing chairman, president and chief executive.

While Boeing is in the process of having a software upgrade certified to return the aircraft to service, it has run up against other problems that have cast uncertainty over when the Max will return to the skies. The largest operator of the 737 Max prior to the grounding, Southwest Airlines, recently indicated that it expects the grounding to last beyond early October.

The airframer has come under intense criticism, with regulators and politicians raising questions over whether Boeing rushed the 737 Max through certification.

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