Aircraft manufacturer Boeing says it will give US$100 million over several years to local governments and non-profit organisations to help families and communities affected by the deadly crashes of its 737 MAX planes in Indonesia and Ethiopia.
The move appears to be a step toward repairing the image of the world's largest plane maker, which has been severely dented by the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines plane in March just five months after a similar crash on a Lion Air flight in Indonesia.
The two crashes killed a total of 346 people.
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Boeing is the subject of a US Department of Justice criminal investigation into the development of the 737 MAX, regulatory probes and more than 100 lawsuits by victims' families.
The payout is independent of the lawsuits and would have no impact on litigation, a Boeing spokesman said.
The US$100 million, which is less than the list price of a 737 MAX 8, is meant to help with education and living expenses and to spur economic development in affected communities, Boeing said.
Many of the passengers on board the Ethiopian Airlines flight were aid workers or involved with health, food, or environmental programs.
"If the money is spent on furthering the work of the people on that plane it would be money well spent," said Justin Green, a New York-based lawyer representing several of the Ethiopia crash victims.
Boeing has been developing a software fix on a stall-prevention system called MCAS , believed to have played a role in two crashes.
The 737 MAX was grounded worldwide and regulators must approve the fix and new pilot training before the jets can fly again.
But just last month, regulators identified a new problem that will delay commercial flight for the jets until October at the earliest.
Following an initial response that public relations experts criticised as stilted and lawyer-driven, Boeing has been on a charm offensive, with executives at the Paris Airshow last month repeatedly apologising for the loss of life.
Robert Clifford, a Chicago-based lawyer with several of the Ethiopian crash cases, suggested some of Boeing's US$100 million pledge could be spent assisting efforts to return the remains of victims to their families.
"These families are distraught about the effort to get back their loved ones," Clifford said. "They want closure."