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Whistleblower urges Boeing to ground all 787 Dreamliners after safety warning | Boeing

A whistleblower has urged Boeing to ground every 787 Dreamliner jet worldwide after warning they are at risk of premature failure ahead of a high-profile hearing on Capitol Hill.

The planemaker has been grappling with its latest crisis since a cabin panel blowout in January raised fresh questions about the production of its bestselling commercial jet, the 737 Max.

But the Federal Aviation Administration is now investigating allegations by the Boeing engineer Sam Salehpour that the manufacturing giant took shortcuts to reduce production bottlenecks while making the 787. He also raised issues about the production of the 777, another wide-body jet.

Salehpour, who has worked at Boeing for more than a decade, says he faced retaliation, including threats and exclusion from meetings, after raising concerns over issues including a gap between parts of the fuselage of the 787.

Asked if Boeing should ground 787 jets for inspection, he told NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt: “The entire fleet worldwide, as far as I’m concerned right now, needs attention. And the attention is, you need to check your gaps and make sure that you don’t have potential for premature failure.”

Boeing has insisted the 787 and 777 are safe, and that retaliation against whistleblowers is not tolerated inside the company. At a briefing earlier this week, executives described how a rigorous program of tests and inspections had left the firm confident of the jets’ durability.

In a statement on Monday, Boeing said: “We are fully confident in the 787 Dreamliner because of the comprehensive work done to ensure the quality and long-term safety of the aircraft. These claims about the structural integrity of the 787 are inaccurate.”

“I have come forward, and I have extended my neck,” Salehpour told NBC, “but you know, I’m at peace with myself. Because this is going to save a lot of people’s lives.”

Salehpour is due to testify on Wednesday before senators on the homeland security committee.

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After scrambling to reassure regulators, airlines and passengers in the wake of January’s blowout, Dave Calhoun, Boeing’s chief executive, and Larry Kellner, chairman of its board, announced plans to resign last month.

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