CHICAGO (CN) – Aviation giant Boeing announced Wednesday it will dedicate $100 million to help support the families and communities of the 346 people who died in two high-profile 737 Max crashes in October and March.
The company said in a statement that the $100 million will be used to “support education, hardship and living expenses for impacted families, community programs, and economic development in impacted communities.”
Boeing plans to partner with local governments and nonprofits to help distribute the funds over multiple years.
“We at Boeing are sorry for the tragic loss of lives in both of these accidents and these lives lost will continue to weigh heavily on our hearts and on our minds for years to come,” Chairman and CEO Dennis Muilenburg said.
“We know every person who steps aboard one of our airplanes places their trust in us,” he continued. “We are focused on re-earning that trust and confidence from our customers and the flying public in the months ahead.”
Boeing also plans to match any employee donations in support of families and communities through Dec. 31.
The aviation giant has been reeling from the two major crashes of its 737 Max planes within six months of each other. Lion Air Flight 610 crashed into the Java Sea off the north coast of Indonesia on Oct. 29 of last year, killing all 189 occupants. Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 went down near the village of Bishoftu, Ethiopia, on March 10, killing all 157 people on board. Both accidents occurred minutes after takeoff.
Preliminary investigations indicate that the crashes were caused by new software that malfunctioned and pushed the plane noses down. Boeing claims to be currently updating that software.
The company’s top-selling 737 Max jets were grounded worldwide after the March crash, forcing airlines to cancel hundreds of flights. It is not yet clear when the planes will be cleared to fly again.
Boeing faces dozens of lawsuits over the accidents. Relatives of passengers on the Lion Air flight agreed to try to settle through mediation, but families of passengers on the Ethiopian Airlines flight are waiting until more is known about the accidents.