Now The Boeing 787 Dreamliner Is Under Fire For Poor Production

Rumors are starting to circulate that the Boeing 737 MAX family is not the only plane series from Boeing with flaws. Several customers and internal quality controls have issued reports regarding the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, specifically from the factory in North Charleston, S.C.

An American Airlines 787
An American Airlines 787 Photo: Flickr

Customers, such as Qatar, have gone as far as to reject aircraft from the plant. They have claimed that the exterior of the aircraft is not up to the standards they expect from Boeing’s other facilities and that waste material is found throughout the aircraft.

This article features unsubstantiated claims and rumors, and should be considered simply an overview of the topic. We suggest readers do their own research before coming to any conclusions.

What is the story?

Just earlier this week, the New York Times published a report into production issues at the South Carolina Boeing Dreamliner 787 plant.

“[From] hundreds of pages of internal emails, corporate documents and federal records, as well as interview with more than a dozen current and former employees,” – New York Times

The report has claimed that Boeing customers receiving aircraft have not only been dissatisfied with the final product, but also finding tools, metal shavings, defects and mistakes in the Dreamliner planes.

This has apparently been from Boeing pushing its workforce to “quickly turn out Dreamliners, at times ignoring issues raised by employees“.

Some of these defects have been found close to mission critical wiring and controls, and could potentially roll into circuitry and cause problems with the planes. As a result, some customers have reportedly had to go over their aircraft with a fine toothed comb, at their own expense.

These shavings have also been found by Boeing’s own internal quality control and FAA inspectors as they approve each aircraft. The aircraft produced at the other 787 facility in Washington have had no such flaws.

United Airlines Boeing 787-9
United Airlines Boeing 787-9. Photo: Wikimedia.

Boeing slams New York Times report

Boeing has shot back at the report however, saying that it “paints a skewed and inaccurate picture of the program and of our team here at Boeing South Carolina, this article features distorted information, rehashing old stories and rumors that have long ago been put to rest.”

And there is some merit to that claim, as many rumours from the past are still circulating now. A post on community site from an apparent ex-Boeing engineer has said that only first generation aircraft have been affected.

This was the final stages of the 787 rollout, which was behind schedule and full of issues. [An employee] James had constantly raised red flags about safety corners Boeing was cutting on the 787 rollout. Things like putting the plane out before there was a good understanding of crack propagation speed, nondestructive testing protocols and repair protocols for all the carbon fiber on the plane. These were extremely serious issues that Boeing swept under the rug to get the 787 out faster.

Naturally, these claims are unsubstantiated, and this employee finished working at Boeing two years before the roll out of the 787. Current engineers who are employed by Boeing have since said that there are no problems with the 787 and that the ‘aircraft is close to perfect’.

The Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner's First Flight. Image Source
The Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner’s First Flight. Image Source: Boeing

Boeing’s head of commercial airplanes, Kevin McAllister, closed off with this statement, “I am proud of our teams’ exceptional commitment to quality and stand behind the work they do each and every day,”

What do you think? Is there any truth to these rumors?