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  /  World News   /  Boeing subcontractor whistleblower: ‘They wanted me to lie’

Boeing subcontractor whistleblower: ‘They wanted me to lie’

(NewsNation) — A former production inspector for Boeing subcontractor Spirit AeroSystems says he witnessed hundreds of defects on the line he oversaw inspecting, and says he was silenced.

“It was everywhere,” Santiago Paredes told NewsNation’s “Morning in America.” “Fasteners, missing parts, bad parts, dents in the skin … foreign object debris,” he said.

Paredes spent 12 years as a production line inspector for Spirit AeroSystems, the company that makes airframes for some Boeing aircraft. He resigned in 2022.

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“When I started documenting some of those defects, there were too many of them. It started to affect the budget. They had to explain why there were so many, and they couldn’t fix them. So they wanted me to lie,” he said.

“I thought it was just a matter of time before something bad was going to happen.”

Spirit Aerosystems was founded in 2005 as a spinoff of Boeing’s fuselage manufacturing plant in Wichita, Kansas. It acquired another firm in Europe and has since opened airline parts manufacturing plants around the world. Besides Boeing, it manufactures fuselage, propulsion and wing systems for Airbus and Bombardier.

Boeing’s safety record has been under scrutiny since January’s in-flight blowout of a door plug on an Alaska Airlines 737 Max 9. Spirit AeroSystems manufactured the fuselage part at its Wichita plant, but the final assembly occurred at Boeing’s plant in the Seattle suburb of Renton, Washington.

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Several other incidents involving Boeing planes have been reported since then, but many are linked to maintenance practices at individual airlines.

Boeing responded to NewsNation’s inquiries, saying, “We have been working closely with Spirit AeroSystems and its leadership to strengthen the quality of the commercial airplanes we build together. We confirm that our collaboration has resulted in preliminary discussions about making Spirit AeroSystems a part of Boeing again.”

Regarding Paredes and other whistleblowers, the FAA told NewsNation: “Voluntary reporting without fear of reprisal is a critical component in aviation safety. We strongly encourage everyone in the aviation industry to share information. We thoroughly investigate all reports.”

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Parades says he’s not worried about his career, saying, “It’s more about what’s at stake. And what’s at stake is a lot of people’s lives.”

And his advice to Spirit AeroSystems: “Be transparent. You know exactly what’s wrong. Quite hiding the truth. Let’s fix it so we can build safe planes.”