Airlines taking delivery of 787 Dreamliners, built at Boeing’s South Carolina facility, are complaining about ongoing production mistakes and quality control issues.
The Post and Courier of Charleston was first to publish the latest string of news on this topic, releasing an article on 3rd of August 2019 with airline feedback.
This isn’t the first time this particular factory has been under fire; previous reports show workers are subject to poor conditions and a strong trend of laziness in the clean up of new aircraft.
Facing ongoing issues with the 737 MAX, analysts are quick to state these claims could point to issues deeper within Boeing’s safety and well-being culture.
“Boeing Commercial Airplanes clearly has a systematic problem in designing , producing and delivery airplanes.”
The Post and Courier of Charleston’s article is the first to feature private criticism from Boeing customers, including some from the world’s top airlines.
KLM had significant negative feedback for the facility, calling the quality control “way below acceptable standards” following delivery of their first 787-10 Dreamliner.
Airline engineers that accepted the aircraft for delivery pointed to items such as: a loose seat, missing or incorrectly installed cotter pins, nuts not fully tightened, a poorly secured fuel line and several other small components.
A bold statement from KLM suggested Boeing’s staff are overworked to maintain production output of 14 787 Dreamliner aircraft monthly.
“A lot of Boeing personnel, factory and management, work way too much overtime. In this customers’s opinion, this reflects in quality and the inability to make schedule.”KLM Staff via The Post and Courier
Etihad was forced to delay three 787 deliveries, as a result of incomplete work after departing the factory.
Summarising the delivery experience, Etihad said it was “very bad and not good for Boeing and Etihad”.
The launch customer for the larger and newest member of the Dreamliner family, the 787-10, Singapore Airlines said scratches were identified on a flight deck windshield and required replacement.
Additionally parts were found missing around the aircraft, forcing engineers to hunt for spares.
Perhaps the most serious and bizarre find by the airline were four work lights left in the tail fuselage section, which is a continuation from past reports of airlines finding ladders and lights in this area.
“Compared to experience on previous 787 deliveries*, this was hardly smooth.”*Likely noting Scoot’s 787 Dreamliner deliveries
American Airlines had the most interesting complaint, primarily because it linked to great concern around the 737 MAX.
On their feedback submission, American Airlines expressed concern about engineers having the ability to tick off 90 percent of their own work. This removes the need for a second quality control check.
Changing things up a bit, United Airlines gave Boeing an almost perfect score of 4.86 out of 5, despite identifying 20 production problems that delayed the maiden flight of an aircraft.
Referring back to our previous article on Boeing 787 production issues, we referenced a New York Times story that cited internal emails, corporate documents, federal records and interviews with more than a dozen employees.
The result of these source findings found workers installed faulty parts, metal shavings were found on critical avionics wiring and aircraft were signed off without undergoing a complete check.
“I’ve just told my wife that I never plan to fly on it. It’s just a safety issue.”Joseph Clayton, Factory Technician at Boeing SC
In a statement to the media, Boeing noted they work with customers to “demonstrate the highest standards of safety and quality, which is evident by the 787 Dreamliner’s excellent record of safety and reliability in service.”
Scoring an overall score of 3.5 out of 5, this new information provides further insight into the work culture of the company.
The Department of Justice has already issued subpoenas to multiple employees of the North Charleston facility, as they are investigating the growing reports of poor production quality.
Since its inauguration, this facility has been slammed by reports and complaints regarding the production quality of aircraft.
Scott Hamilton says the recent surveys are “consistent with the stories that have been told about North Charleston pretty much since it opened”.
He added that it was well known in the industry that the site was problematic when it came to manufacturing the type.
Relying on the success of the 787 program, Boeing is hoping to offset the impact caused by the grounding of the 737 MAX.
This leads Scott Hamilton to believe Boeing won’t adjust their culture at the North Charleston facility anytime soon, as they’re so heavily focused on repairing their cash-making 737.
Additionally Boeing is aggressively pushing for a flawless flight test campaign of the 777X, after recent engine delays inspired the prospect of delivery woes.
What’s your take on these reports?