FBI: Airliner's Loss of Panel May Have Been a Crime

Investigation concerns Boeing's deferred prosecution agreement
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 22, 2024 4:15 PM CDT
Alaska Airlines Passengers May Be Crime Victims, FBI Says
This photo released by the National Transportation Safety Board shows a gaping hole where the paneled-over door had been at the fuselage plug area of Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 on Jan. 7.   (National Transportation Safety Board via AP, File)

Boeing skirted criminal liability by reaching a deferred prosecution agreement with the Justice Department three years ago on charges that it had defrauded regulators during the certification process for 737 Max jets. The period much like a probation hasn't quite expired yet, and that could become a problem for the manufacturer. The FBI has now sent a letter to passengers on the Alaska Airlines flight that lost a door panel in January, CNN reports, advising them that they might have been victims "of a crime." The letter says the agency is investigating but does not say what the crime would have been.

But government officials said the subject of the criminal investigation is whether Boeing has violated the terms of the deal, per the AP. Reached in the last month of Donald Trump's administration, the agreement upset members of Congress and relatives of crash victims at the time. Boeing paid $2.5 billion, but it already had committed to most of that going to airlines in connection with earlier crashes. A lawyer for some of the Alaska Airlines passengers said they welcome the new investigation. "We want answers," said Mark Lindquist. "We want safer Boeing planes." (More Boeing stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.