US prosecutors have recommended that criminal charges be brought against Boeing by the Department of Justice (DoJ) after an investigation into whether its recent quality control issues violated a 2021 settlement. 

While the DoJ still has until 7 July to decide whether it will prosecute the manufacturer, the news will be unwelcome for the company which has been fighting to regain its reputation since a blow-out incident on a 737 MAX 8 in January. 

Though Boeing has not commented on the news, the company may not be concerned about the threat of criminal charges yet thanks to earlier reports about discussions between the business and the DoJ over a possible alternative resolution to the investigations

The DoJ’s concerns are primarily related to the deferred-prosecution agreement made with Boeing in 2021 after two fatal crashes involving 737 MAX aircraft in 2018 and 2019, caused by a software error hidden from regulators. 

Lasting three years, the agreement would have expired on 7 January, just two days after the blow-out incident when a door plug came off the fuselage of an Alaska Airlines aircraft mid-air, with investigators later finding the plug was missing key safety bolts

Since then, a series of aircraft faults involving Boeing planes have hit the headlines, the company has received damning safety reports from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and airlines, politicians, and whistleblowers have all criticised the manufacturer. 

How well do you really know your competitors?

Access the most comprehensive Company Profiles on the market, powered by GlobalData. Save hours of research. Gain competitive edge.

Company Profile – free sample

Thank you!

Your download email will arrive shortly

Not ready to buy yet? Download a free sample

We are confident about the unique quality of our Company Profiles. However, we want you to make the most beneficial decision for your business, so we offer a free sample that you can download by submitting the below form

By GlobalData
Visit our Privacy Policy for more information about our services, how we may use, process and share your personal data, including information of your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications. Our services are intended for corporate subscribers and you warrant that the email address submitted is your corporate email address.

While Boeing recently published a safety roadmap hoping to address concerns and has overseen a shakeup of its senior leadership, the FAA has continued its oversight of the 737 MAX production line with output limited. 

Aviation litigator Steven Marks told Airport Technology that despite increasing pressure on the company, its importance to the aviation and defence industries in the US may have influenced its ability to weather the current storm. 

However, the Podhurst Orseck lawyer added that CEO Dave Calhoun, currently set to step down at the end of the year, may not be able to last much longer if criminal charges come forward. 

He said: “There should have already been sufficient pressure on his resignation as well the clawing back of his and other senior executives’ compensation. 

“Criminal prosecutions routinely occur in European courts for far less egregious conduct, so it is astonishing that our DoJ is even considering giving Boeing a continued free pass for what one federal judge has described as the deadliest corporate crime in US history.”