A total of 157 people died when Ethiopian Airlines flight ET 302 crashed

Boeing has reached an agreement with the families of the 157 people who died in the Ethiopia 737 Max crash in 2019.

The plane maker accepts liability for their deaths, according to court documents in Chicago.

In return, families of the victims will not seek punitive damages from the company.

Lawyers for the victims’ families said Boeing would still be held “fully accountable”, welcoming the agreement as a significant milestone.

Boeing shares fell 1% to $218.50 on the news.

The agreement opens the way for families outside the US, in countries such as Ethiopia and Kenya, to claim compensation through the US courts, rather than in their home countries, which might be more difficult and result in lower payments.

Mark Pegram in the UK, whose son Sam was one of the victims, said: “The main positive for us is that Boeing is admitting liability, and not diverting blame onto Ethiopian Airlines or the pilots… we wanted them to hold their hands up.”

Sam’s mother Debbie told the BBC: “All we are looking to do with any compensation is set up a charity in Sam’s name. It’s what we want to do and it’s what Sam would have wanted us to do.”

At the time of the crash, the 737 Max was Boeing’s best-selling plane.

But two fatal accidents within five months – the Ethiopia Airlines flight out of Addis Ababa and before that a Lion Air jet that came down into the sea off Indonesia – signalled there were serious faults with the aircraft.

The planes were grounded for 20 months, while investigations took place, but have since been allowed to return to operations after the firm made significant changes to their software and training.

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