Boeing is experiencing a turbulent year: After several mishaps, the aircraft manufacturer is under criticism. Now employees are speaking out about the conditions in Boeing's largest plant.

Amid a safety crisis, the largest factory of the US aircraft manufacturer Boeing is in “panic mode”, according to workers and union representatives. This is according to a report in the British newspaper “The Guardian”.

At the center of the allegations is the Boeing plant in Everett, Washington. A mechanic at the plant who has worked for Boeing for more than three decades and remained anonymous told the Guardian that the plant was full of faulty 787 jets that needed to be repaired. He claimed that there was a climate of fear at Boeing: “There is no way on God's green earth that I would want to be a pilot in South Carolina and fly these planes from South Carolina here,” said the mechanic.

The allegations relate to the fact that many jets come from Boeing's facility in the US state. The final assembly of the 787 was relocated there in 2021 – a measure that was seen as a cost-cutting maneuver.

The employee accused managers in Everett of pressuring the workforce, not raising concerns about quality assurance and potential repairs, and neglecting safety issues in favor of speed and efficiency. “Boeing needs to look in the mirror and say, 'We're wrong,'” he said.

Meanwhile, another anonymous Boeing employee speaking to the Guardian noted a clear difference in productivity between the Washington plant and the North Charleston, South Carolina, plant. While they were building ten to twelve planes a month in Washington, the South Carolina plant would barely manage more than two or three a month.

Boeing has not commented on the allegations, pointing to an established review program that guides work on the 787 jets in Everett, but discussions have intensified over the way Boeing handles quality control issues.

Last Thursday, Boeing presented the US aviation authority FAA with the action plan it had requested to improve quality controls. Details of the measures were not initially disclosed. However, Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun emphasized in a statement that recommendations from experts and suggestions from employees had been taken into account when drawing up the plan.

The FAA had called for the action plan after a near-accident involving a Boeing 737-9 earlier this year. Boeing must commit to “real and profound improvements” and examine every aspect of quality assurance, emphasized FAA chief Mike Whitaker at the time.

At the beginning of January, a part of the fuselage of a nearly new 737-9 Max broke off during a climb shortly after takeoff. There were more than 170 people on board. By chance, the two seats directly next to the opening were empty – no one was injured. The accident investigation authority NTSB assumes that fastening bolts were missing from the broken part. There were also repeated problems with incorrectly drilled holes in the fuselage.


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