Boeing denies report of 'shoddy' work on 787

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Photo taken on Jan. 26, 2018 shows a Dreamliner plane for delivery parking at the tarmac outside the final assembly building in Boeing South Carolina in North Charleston, South Carolina of the United States. [Photo/Xinhua]

Boeing Co has denied a New York Times' report that "shoddy production" and oversight at its North Charleston, South Carolina, factory threatens the safety of the company's long-haul 787 Dreamliner aircraft.

The Times, however, acknowledged that "there is no evidence that the problems at the South Carolina plant have led to any major safety incidents." Boeing also manufactures the Dreamliner in Everett, Washington, north of Seattle. The newspaper's story focused only on the North Carolina plant.

Calling the Times' story published on Sunday "offensive'', Brad Zaback, site leader of the South Carolina facility and general manager of Boeing's 787 program, said in an email to employees and made available to media that the newspaper distorted information and rehashed old stories "that have long ago been put to rest."

The newspaper story comes as a global team of experts on Tuesday will begin reviewing how the flight system for another Boeing aircraft – its grounded 737 MAX -- was approved by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), according to The Associated Press. Investigators are focusing on anti-stall software that pushed the plane's nose down based on an erroneous sensor.

The FAA says experts from nine international civil aviation authorities – including China – have confirmed participation in a technical review promised by the agency, according to the AP.

China was the first country to ground the MAX aircraft after the mid-March crash of an Ethiopian Airlines flight which followed the crash of a Lion Air Flight in October. The crashes killed 346 people.

Citing internal emails, corporate and federal documents and interviews with more than a dozen current and former employees at Boeing's South Carolina plant, The Times reported that the plant valued production speed over quality, leading to problems like manufacturing defects and potentially dangerous debris left in completed planes.

Zaback told employees that the planes undergo "rigorous quality inspections" and "perform exceptionally well in service for our valued airplane customers around the world."

"It's unfortunate and disappointing that The New York Times chose to publish this misleading story," he said, saying the company invited the Times to "visit Boeing South Carolina once they contacted us, so that they could see first-hand the great work that is done here."

"They declined this invitation," Zaback wrote.

Danielle Rhoades Ha, the Times' vice-president for communications, said Sunday night that Boeing made its offer of a tour on April 19 and that the newspaper declined to delay the scheduled publication. She said the company declined to make executives at the plant available for on-the-record interviews.

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