Things for Boeing may be getting even worse.

Ring the Alarm

A new Boeing whistleblower just dropped, and their new claims are expanding scrutiny to a different line of the company's jets.

In interviews with the New York Times and documents sent to the Federal Aviation Administration, an engineer named Sam Salehpour says that the construction of the company's 787 Dreamliner fuselages are neither built nor fastened together correctly — leaving them open to potentially break apart after too many flights.

Salehpour, who's worked for Boeing for over a decade, said the issue is related to the company cutting corners by using manufacturers for different parts of the planes, which when fastened together on the assembly line don't line up properly. According to the whistleblower, the problem gets worse as the planes age and experience wear and tear.

The information — which the FAA admits it has received, but didn't comment on when contacted by the NYT because it has an investigation is underway — comes in the aftermath of that consequential Alaska Airlines flight in January, when a part of the fuselage from a Boeing 737 Max jet blew off and landed in someone's yard.

That incident spurred public interest, skepticism, and even fear about Boeing's jets. And in its wake, there's been a slew of reporting surrounding manufacturing and functioning issues with its planes, many of which are falling apart as they age — which, incidentally, is salient to one of Salehpour's claims.

Retaliatory Action

It also comes after another company whistleblower, John Barnett, was found dead outside his hotel in Charleston, South Carolina in the midst of his deposition about his ex-employer's safety issues. For the past 20 years, Boeing has built its Dreamliners in the same SC down where Barnett was pronounced dead of an alleged suicide.

Similarly to Barnett, Salehpour said that when he raised issues about the issues he witnessed, he was retaliated against by his superiors.

"This is the culture that Boeing has allowed to exist,” Debra Katz, the whistleblower's attorney, told the NYT. "This is a culture that prioritizes production of planes and pushes them off the line even when there are serious concerns about the structural integrity of those planes and their production process."

Richard Blumenthal, a Connecticut Democrat and chairman of the Senate's Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee investigational subcommittee, is planning to bring Salehpour before the chamber on April 17. He echoed the attorney's rhetoric in an interview with the NYT, and said it it's important for the public to hear what the whistleblower has to say in his own words.

"Repeated, shocking allegations about Boeing’s manufacturing failings point to an appalling absence of safety culture and practices," Blumenthal said, "where profit is prioritized over everything else."

In statements to the NYT, Boeing expressed confidence in its manufacturing process and denied there were safety issues — but given that there are now multiple investigations into the company, it's hard to take its word at face value.

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