Boeing 737 MAX aircraft at Boeing facilities at the Grant County International Airport in Moses Lake. The families of Boeing crash victims are to receive compensation from the company after 340 people lost their lives in crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia earlier in the year. Photo: Reuters

JOHANNESBURG – The families of Boeing crash victims are to receive compensation from the company after 340 people lost their lives in crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia earlier in the year.

Each family is due to receive about $144 500 (R2.1 million) from a $50 million financial assistance fund after claims are submitted before a 2020 deadline, the BBC reported.

However, lawyers representing the families have dismissed the payout as a “publicity stunt” and said this approach does not satisfy the families who want answers.

The 737 Max has been grounded since March, as investigators evaluate the airplane's safety following the fatal crashes.

An Ethiopian Airlines 737 MAX 8 crashed shortly after take-off on March 10, killing all 157 people on board. The same Boeing model was involved in a Lion Air plane crash in Indonesia in October that killed 189 people.

In November, US law firm Colson Hicks Eidson filed a lawsuit against Boeing on behalf of the father of one of the victims of the Lion Air crash.

However, most of the families affected had previously chosen not to sue, believing their chances of success were small, said Denny Kailimang, who is representing the plaintiffs. 

The chief executive of Boeing, Dennis Muilenburg, apologised on Thursday for the lives lost in the two deadly crashes.

African News Agency (ANA)