At a Boeing manufacturing facility in North Charleston, South Carolina, the aerospace giant reportedly pressured workers to speed up production while ignoring employee complaints about potential safety risks and defective manufacturing, according to a new report from The New York Times.
After interviewing more than a dozen current and former employees of the Boeing facility, which makes the 787 Dreamliner, and reviewing “hundreds of pages of internal emails, corporate documents and federal records,” The New York Times reported on Saturday that the newspaper’s investigation “reveals a culture that often valued production speed over quality.”
Boeing workers have filed numerous safety complaints with the federal government over issues ranging from shoddy manufacturing practices to tools and debris being left on planes, and workers say they have been pressured to not report regulatory violations to authorities, The New York Times reports. The investigation found that Boeing workers have installed faulty parts in planes at the facility, and that some aircraft have even taken test flights with debris such as tools and metal shavings inside the engine or tail, creating potential safety hazards.
Boeing has denied manufacturing problems with the Dreamliner, and the company said “Boeing South Carolina teammates are producing the highest levels of quality in our history,” in a statement to The New York Times. However, the newspaper also reported that at least one major carrier, Qatar Airways, had been frustrated by manufacturing issues at that particular Boeing facility, with the airline opting to only buy its Dreamliners from a different Boeing facility since 2014.
A Boeing spokesperson did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for additional comment.
The report raises questions about the production process of Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner at a time when the company is already facing investigations, including a federal criminal probe, into the certification process for the Boeing 737 Max. Those probes followed a pair of deadly crashes involving the aircraft, with an Ethiopian Airlines 737 Max that crashed in March coming just months after a similar crash involving a Boeing 737 Max in Indonesia.