The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Boeing Cut More Corners

Apr 29, 2019

Boeing has been shoddily manufacturing its technologically most advanced plane, the Dreamliner, with weak oversight that can cause serious flight safety problems, according to the New York Times. The 787 Dreamliner was the first airliner manufactured with a lightweight carbon fiber fuselage and many other technological innovations intended to make it one of the most advanced aircraft in the world.

Because the plane was designed to be 20% more fuel-efficient mainly due to high-tech lightweight construction, the Dreamliner became a hit with carriers. When Boeing started to manufacture the Dreamliner in its plant in Everett, Washington in 2007, airlines ordered hundreds of the planes, which cost more than $200 million each. To respond to this high demand, Boeing constructed another plant near Charleston, South Carolina in 2009.

But, because of many manufacturing and supplier issues, the delivery of Dreamliners to the airlines was delayed by four years to 2011. And with Boeing's delivery of Dreamliners delayed, its commercial rival Airbus developed a new plane, the A350, to compete. Facing that competition, Boeing pushed its work force to quickly turn out Dreamliners by cutting many different corners, including manufacturing defective planes, leaving debris in planes that can cause lethal safety issues during flights, and pressuring its workforce not to report manufacturing and safety violations. At the same time, Boeing said it was eliminating about a hundred quality control positions in its Charleston plant!

“They're trying to shorten the time of manufacturing. But are you willing to sacrifice the safety of our product to maximize profit?” asked a former Boeing mechanic.

The answer to this rhetorical question was obviously YES. Maximizing profit trumped everything else for Boeing bosses, endangering the lives of the passengers and crew.