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American Airlines Says Employees Will Get $30 Million From Boeing Settlement

Associated Press

American Airlines has reached a settlement with Boeing over the grounding of the airplane maker's 737 Max jet fleet. 

American says employees will get $30 million through its profit-sharing program. The amount each employee gets will vary depending on experience.

The settlement only covers damages the Fort Worth-based airline incurred last year. American had 24 Boeing 737 Max jets when the planes were grounded worldwide in March after two deadly crashes. Like other airlines, American has canceled thousands of flights as a result. It estimated that the grounding will cut its full-year 2019 pretax income by $540 million.

It's not clear when the Max will fly again.

Dallas-based Southwest Airlines reached a similar deal with Boeing in December that will make $125 million available to their employees.

Pilots and flight attendants have lost wages because of canceled flights. Pilots at American have let their airline deal with Boeing, but pilots at Southwest Airlines have taken a different course — their union is suing Boeing for lost wages.

Boeing has reached partial settlements with Southwest and Turkish Airlines — neither carrier disclosed details — while continuing to negotiate with others. Chicago-based Boeing has estimated the eventual cost to reach $5.6 billion over several years, although many analysts believe that figure will go much higher.

Boeing is still working on software and computer updates to prevent a repeat of crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia that killed 346 people. In both crashes, a key sensor malfunctioned and triggered an automated system to push the nose of the plane down, according to accident investigators.

The Federal Aviation Administration would have to approve Boeing’s changes to the Max before the planes can fly in the U.S. Regulators in other countries plan to conduct their own reviews.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Miguel Perez is an assistant producer at KERA. He produces local content for Morning Edition and KERA News. He also produces The Friday Conversation, a weekly interview series with North Texas newsmakers.