‘It Has To Be Built Properly’: Josh Hawley Asks Boeing Quality Engineer Point Blank If Company’s Planes Are Safe

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Will Kessler Contributor
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A current Boeing employee warned Republican Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley that the company’s planes have increased risk factors due to poor company safety standards at a hearing on Wednesday of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs.

Boeing quality engineer Sam Salehpour, in his response to Hawley, emphasized the risks Boeing planes pose currently, pointing out that while not all planes are experiencing issues, quality concerns could become more apparent as planes age. The testimony is the result of numerous safety issues reported with Boeing planes going back several years, with a recent report from the Federal Aviation Administration outlining a disconnect between senior management at Boeing and lower members of the organization on safety culture, harming workers’ ability to report issues. (RELATED: Biden Labor Regulator Rolls Out Final Rule Requiring Employers To Give Time Off For Abortions)

“Are the planes safe?” Hawley asked Salehpour.

“It’s like an earthquake,” Salehpour responded. “The big earthquake is coming, and when that hits the building — let’s say, if we are talking about a building — it has to be prepared to accommodate that type of shakeup. It has to be built properly. Right now, from what I’ve seen, these airplanes are not being built per respect and per requirement.”

Boeing planes have experienced a number of mechanical issues in the past few months, including in January, when the emergency door of a Boeing MAX 9 plane blew off mid-flight, forcing an emergency landing. A report released by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) in February found that the door had no bolts installed on takeoff.

“So your testimony is that the 787 line and the 777 line, you think, are not safe?” Hawley followed up with Salehpour.

“They are doing stuff that increases the risk factors. When you increase the risk factors, it’s not just one; you are doing the stress concentrations — like breaking a paperclip; you do it once or twice, it doesn’t break, but it breaks at some point. As the plane gets older, all of these things that you said were not a safety issue become a safety issue.

Despite presiding over numerous high-profile safety incidents involving Boeing aircraft, Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun could be awarded $32.8 million in total compensation in 2023 if shareholders approve his pay package. Calhoun is resigning at the end of 2024 as CEO due to rampant safety issues.

“I went to quality about three or four years ago, and when you put on your quality hat, we are the eyes and ears of the public for the safety of the airplane,” Salehpour said in his testimony. “That’s how I feel about our job. When I see concerning information or concerning production issues, then it is our responsibility to make sure we aren’t causing the airplane to have increased risk factors. Our job is to eliminate those risk factors.”

Boeing did not immediately respond to a request to comment from the Daily Caller News Foundation.

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