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Boeing Goes On The Attack Over Al Jazeera's "Broken Dreams, The Boeing 787"

September 11, 2014 - Al Jazeera news agency recently did a documentary on the Boeing 787 "Dreamliner" aircraft called "Broken Dreams, The Boeing 787" in which they took a look at manufacturing, safety and employee concerns and moral.

This report was a result of a Boeing assembly worker at Boeing's Charleston, South Carolina plant contacting Al Jazeera to raise safety concerns with the aircraft. 

Back on January 16, 2013, the FAA issued an emergency airworthiness directive ordering all American based airlines to ground their Boeing 787s after several airlines had reported mechanical problems with the aircraft. 

Those problems included electrical onboard fires due to the aircrafts main batteries (lithium cobalt oxide batteries), fuel leaks, wiring damage on locator beacons (ELT), engine icing, etc. The FAA reported that they would conduct a comprehensive review of the 787's critical systems, including the design, manufacture and assembly. In January 2014, Japan Airlines (JAL) grounded one of its 787 due to smoke coming from the main battery area of the aircraft.

Al Jazeera's conducted interviews with current and retired 787 Boeing employees in a year long investigation. The employees reported safety concerns, drug use at the plant, production was more important than safety, 10 of the 15 employees interviewed reported they would not fly in the 787. One worker said, "I've seen a lot of things that should not go on at an airplane plant. It's been eating me alive to know what I know, and have no avenue, no venue to say anything."


Former president of Boeing's engineers union, SPEEA, Cynthia Cole said, "I've been kind of avoiding flying on a 787 and seeing this, (she is referring to the documentary) I would definitely avoid flying on a 787."

On Wednesday Boeing released a statement condemning the documentary. "It is unfortunate that the producers of this television program appear to have has fallen into the trap of distorting facts, relying on claims rejected by courts of law, breathlessly rehashing as “news” stories that have been covered exhaustively in the past and relying on anonymous sources who appear intent only on harming The Boeing Company".

"Even on-the-record sources seem to have changed their stories for the producers. For example, former Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA) President Cynthia Cole said this about the 787’s first flight in 2009: “Today’s flight is a testament to the skill, hard work and diligence Boeing employees put in to get this airplane ready to fly,” SPEEA President Cynthia Cole said in a news release. “Boeing returned to engineering, and that’s what made today possible and successful.” Now, she states in the documentary trailer that Boeing “shortchanged the engineering process.” (Boeing's Full Response)

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