AL JAZEERA INVESTIGATIVE REPORT FOCUSES ON SOUTH CAROLINA FACILITY
Aircraft manufacturer Boeing’s much maligned next generation passenger jet – the 787 “Dreamliner” – is the focus of an upcoming Al Jazeera investigation. And it’s not going to be pretty …
Scheduled for release on Wednesday, September 10, the Al Jazeera probe – entitled “Broken Dreams: The Boeing 787” – follows up on many of the production issues this website exclusively reported on last November. It also uncovers alleged evidence of “drug taking among Boeing workers” as well as “Boeing workers who say they wouldn’t fly on the 787.”
And yes, the focus of the report is Boeing’s North Charleston, S.C. facility – which opened in 2011 after the company received more than $1 billion in subsidies from state taxpayers.
Sheesh … no wonder the company is so sensitive.
Perhaps most problematic for the Chicago-based company – which relies on government handouts at the state and federal level – the report claims “worries persist” about the battery fires that grounded the Dreamliner for several months last year.
In January 2013, the Federal Aviation Association (FAA) grounded the 787 due to conflagration issues associated with its lithium ion batteries. Problems with the plane have continued since it was cleared for flight – including an incident last month in which a Dreamliner belonging to British-based Thomson Airlines began losing altitude and was forced to make an emergency landing during a transoceanic flight.
“We will not be flying on that plane again,” one of the passengers on the flight said, an opinion that’s evidently shared by the workers building the planes.
“I wouldn’t fly on one of these planes,” a worker at the North Charleston facility told Al Jazeera. “Because I see the quality of the fu**ing sh*t going down around here.”
“We’re not building them to fly, We’re building them to sell. You know what I’m saying?” the worker adds.
The Al Jazeera report also quotes Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) expert Donald Sadoway regarding Boeing’s efforts to prevent additional fires related to its lithium batteries, which overheated and caused several fires on planes.
“I don’t think it’s a sufficient fix,” Sadoway says. “Even inside that steel box with all of its fortifications, all of the elements are still there for fire.”
Here’s a preview of the Al Jazeera report …
(Click to play)
FITS was the first news outlet in the country to report on production issues at Boeing’s North Charleston facility – which was built thanks to $1 billion in taxpayer-funded incentives doled out by Gov. Nikki Haley and state lawmakers. Two months later, reporter Phil LeBeau – who covers automotive and aerospace issues for CNBC – confirmed much of our reporting. More recently, The Seattle Times and The Wall Street Journal have referenced South Carolina’s production problems – while Reuters has exclusively reported on how those issues are affecting the company’s global supply chain.
Boeing says the Al Jazeera reporting team – led by Will Jordan (formerly of Britain’s Channel 4 and the BBC) – has presented claims with “no merit.”
“I’m extremely confident in the quality of the workforce in Boeing South Carolina,” the vice president and general manager of the 787 program tells the network. “The number one focus that we have at Boeing is ensuring the continued safe airworthiness of an airplane, the integrity of the airplane and the quality of the airplane going out.”