US aircraft manufacturer Boeing has said it will pay $100m (£80m) to families and communities affected by the two crashes involving its 737 Max aircraft, in which 346 people were killed.

Boeing, which is facing dozens of lawsuits over the accidents, said some of the money would go towards the living expenses of the families of those involved in the fatal crashes and to alleviate any financial hardship they were facing.

The payouts, phased over several years, will be independent of any lawsuits relating to the accidents, Boeing said.

Relatives of passengers on a Lion Air flight that crashed off the coast of Indonesia in October 2018 have agreed to try to settle with the company through mediation but families of passengers killed in an Ethiopian Airlines crash just over four months later are waiting until more is known about the cause of the accident.

The $100m fund will also be spent on education and community programmes, as well as economic development in communities that have suffered, Boeing said in a statement.

The plane manufacturer promised to form partnerships with local governments and non-profit organisations “to address these needs”.

The company said in April that it expects the crashes to cost it more than $1bn, as the firm cancelled its financial outlook for 2019 and scrapped plans to reward shareholders by offering to buy back some of their stock.

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