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Wednesday,  May 22, 2024 7:44 PM 

Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner is flawed, says whistleblower; FAA investigating

Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner is flawed, says whistleblower; FAA investigating
Boeing's company office in Pleasanton, California. (Shutterstock/Michael Vi)
Michael Pihach

Michael Pihach is an award-winning journalist with a keen interest in digital storytelling. In addition to PAX, Michael has also written for CBC Life, Ryerson University Magazine, IN Magazine, and Michael joins PAX after years of working at popular Canadian television shows, such as Steven and Chris, The Goods and The Marilyn Denis Show.

A Boeing whistleblower who spoke to the New York Times, alleging that Boeing cut corners when manufacturing its 777 and 787 Dreamliner jets, has sparked a new investigation by The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Sam Salehpour, a Boeing engineer, says the risks Boeing has taken to build its Dreamliner jets could lead to catastrophic consequences as the aircraft age with time.

Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner jets, which first entered service in 2011, could have 50-year lifespans – around 44,000 flights each, the company says.

READ MORE: Bolts were missing from Alaska Airlines door: U.S. investigators

But Salehpour’s complaint alleges Boeing failed to fill tiny gaps when joining separately manufactured parts of the fuselage, reports CNN.

This approach puts more wear and tear on a plane, reducing its lifespan and risking “catastrophic” failure, Salehpour’s attorneys alleged.

A Boeing 737 MAX 9 operated by Alaska Airlines. (Shutterstock/Robin Guess)

The complaint isn’t entirely new – Boeing’s Dreamliners, for almost two years now, have faced scrutiny from the FAA. Deliveries of the aircraft were once halted due to quality investigations. 

The FAA has twice probed the Dreamliner jet, CNN reports, and Boeing has maintained that its planes were and are safe to fly.

Salehpour’s latest complaint to the FAA, filed in January (but made public on Tuesday) is not specific to Boeing's newer 737 MAX that has already been grounded twice by U.S. authorities.

Boeing deliveries drop by half

Meanwhile, Boeing’s deliveries dropped by half in March due to increased quality checks

The company said Tuesday it had delivered 29 airplanes in March, down more than half from the 64 delivered in the same month a year ago, as 737 MAX aircraft faced new quality checks and audits by U.S. regulators, Reuters reports.

Boeing says it is making fewer MAX single-aisle jets to improve their quality after a Jan. 5 mid-air blowout of a door plug on a 737 MAX 9 jet operated by Alaska Airlines.

The scene from a mid-air blowout of a door plug on a 737 MAX 9 jet operated by Alaska Airlines in January.  (@Kyrinker/X)

More than five years of safety issues at Boeing has led to more than $31 billion in cumulative losses for the company, according to reporting by CNN.

Last month, Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun announced that he will step down from his position by the end of the year.

The company also revealed that its chairman, Larry Kellner will not to stand for re-election as board director.

In a letter to Boeing employees released by the company last month, Calhoun said what happened to the Alaska Airlines plane was “a watershed moment for Boeing.”

“The eyes of the world are on us,” he said when announcing his plans to leave the company. “We are going to fix what isn’t working, and we are going to get our company back on the track towards recovery and stability.”

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