Boeing Whistleblower Steps Forward

Boeing Whistleblower Steps Forward

( – Another whistleblower has come forward with allegations of failures in Boeing’s manufacturing processes. Santiago Paredes, a quality control expert who spent years working for the aerospace giant’s parts manufacturing subsidiary Spirit AeroSystems, has accused the conglomerate of pressuring employees to conceal defects and overlook flaws.

In back-to-back interviews with the BBC and CBS News, Paredes said it was common for him to identify “anywhere from 50 to 100, 200” problems with fuselages designed for the 737 jet. It happened so often that his managers derisively nicknamed him “showstopper” for constantly disrupting production lines.

Paredes, who stopped working for Boeing in 2022, said he was “finding a lot of missing [components], a lot of [damaged] parts, sometimes even missing parts” during final inspections. But when he tried to escalate his findings, higher-ups allegedly pushed back and treated him like a nuisance.

Paredes said that instead of addressing the problems, employees were under tremendous pressure to speed up their work and take shortcuts to get products out to market. “They were just focused on meeting the quotas, meeting the schedule, meeting the budget,” he explained.

In February 2022, Paredes attempted to push for change by filing an official complaint about the pressure on manufacturing employees to “speed up” production. According to him, he was almost immediately demoted. While he initially tried to fight back via HR, Paredes eventually decided to give up that battle and move on from Spirit altogether.

Paredes indicated he believes this same culture of overlooking defects likely contributed to a terrifying incident on an Alaska Airlines flight last January. The 737 Max was traveling from Portland International Airport to Ontario, California, when a door blew out at 16,000 feet, triggering rapid decompression of the inner chamber.

The jet was able to land safely without any physical injuries to the traumatized passengers and crew. But according to Paredes, accidents like these shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone, given the culture of ignorance at Boeing. He surmised that manufacturers probably overlooked a defect in that case, too, and would likely continue to do so until Spirit’s approach changes.

Those thoughts appear to align with an earlier report stemming from a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) probe into the aerospace manufacturer’s processes. In February, an investigative panel called Boeing’s safety culture “inadequate and confusing,” specifically noting a concerning disconnect between senior managers and other employees.

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