Boeing has agreed to acknowledge liability for compensatory damages in lawsuits filed by families of the 157 people killed in the 2019 Ethiopian Airlines 737 MAX crash, according to a filing in US District Court in Chicago.

As a result of the agreement between Boeing and the families, lawyers for the victims will not seek punitive damages and the company will not challenge the lawsuits being filed in Illinois.

"Boeing is committed to ensuring that all families who lost loved ones in the accidents are fully and fairly compensated for their loss," the planemaker said in a statement.

"By accepting responsibility, Boeing's agreement with the families allows the parties to focus their efforts on determining the appropriate compensation for each family."

Mick Ryan, from Lahinch in Co Clare, was among those who died when the plane crashed minutes after taking off from Addis Ababa in Ethiopia for Nairobi in Kenya on 10 March 2019.

The father-of-two was part of an engineering unit with the United Nations World Food Programme.

Lawyers for the victims in a statement noted that under the agreement Boeing admitted "that the 737 MAX had an unsafe condition, and that it will not attempt to blame anyone else" for the crash.

The victims included Mick Ryan from Co Clare

"This is a significant milestone for the families in their pursuit of justice against Boeing, as it will ensure they are all treated equitably and eligible to recover full damages under Illinois law while creating a pathway for them to proceed to a final resolution, whether through settlements or trial," the lawyers said, adding the compensation "will serve to hold Boeing fully accountable for the deaths of the 157 people who perished."

Boeing's best-selling plane was grounded for 20 months after 346 people died in two 737 MAX crashes in five months in 2018-19.

The aircraft returned to service after the company made significant software and training improvements.

The crashes have already cost Boeing some $20 billion (€17.5b).

In January, it agreed to a deferred prosecution agreement with the US Department of Justice including $2.5b (€2.2b) in fines and compensation stemming from the 737 MAX crashes including the October 2018 Lion Air crash in Indonesia in which 189 people died.