Who is Santiago Paredes? Boeing whistleblower bravely speaks out on cover-up of defects in 737 fuselages - Hindustan Times
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Who is Santiago Paredes? Boeing whistleblower bravely speaks out on cover-up of defects in 737 fuselages

ByShweta Kukreti
May 09, 2024 09:09 PM IST

Santiago Paredes, also nicknamed as "showstopper", worked for Spirit AeroSystems in Kansas. He alleged that he was forced to hide defects on 737 fuselages.

After the mysterious deaths of two Boeing whistleblowers shocked the world, a former quality inspector at the aerospace firm bravely came out in public, claiming that he forced to hide defects on 737 fuselages.

Santiago Paredes, also nicknamed as "showstopper", worked for Spirit AeroSystems in Kansas.(AP )
Santiago Paredes, also nicknamed as "showstopper", worked for Spirit AeroSystems in Kansas.(AP )

This revelation came after John Barnett reportedly died by suicide few days after testifying against Boeing, while Joshua Dean was declared dead due to a sudden illness. In April 2023, he was fired from Spirit AeroSystems and later claimed that “if you are too loud, [Boeing] will silence you.”

Santiago Paredes, also nicknamed as "showstopper", worked for Spirit AeroSystems in Kansas. In an interview with CBS News, he alleged that plane bodies manufactured by its largest supplier usually left the factory with serious defects.

“If quality mattered, I would still be at Spirit. It was very rare for us to look at a job and not find any defects,” he asserted.

He even discovered an issue with an aircraft door panel that mirrored one that flew off on an Alaska Airlines trip in January.

“Why did that happen?” Paredes remarked, adding that Spirit ignored a fault due to the strain that the employers put on the inspectors.

He claimed that he was named as the 'Showstopper' because he kept pointing out flaws that caused delays in delivery, and he was continuously asked to keep his reports to a minimum. “They always said they didn’t have time to fix the mistakes. And they needed to get the planes out.”

Paredes further claimed that the firm's culture was not good.

Also Read: Boeing faces new FAA probe over 787 Dreamliner’s skipped test

Why was Santiago Paredes fired?

Back in 2022, Paredes stated his employers pushed him to speed up his inspections by being less explicit about the flaws he was discovering with the fuselage. He said that he responded to them via email, calling their suggestion "unethical".

According to the whistleblower, he was put in a place where he was supposed to get fired for refusing their suggestion.

Following his mail, Paredes was ousted from his leadership position. However, they had to reinstate him after he approached the HR. Unfortunately, he has to resign in the summer of 2022 due to subsequent pressure.

Paredes claimed Boeing was aware about the fact that Spirit, which is not linked with Spirit Airlines, was providing defective fuselages.

Paredes grew fear of flying while working at Spirit. “Knowing what I know about the 737, it makes me very uncomfortable when I fly on one of them.”

Identified as "Former Employee 1" in a shareholder lawsuit against Spirit, Paredes claimed the firm had "widespread quality failures" that their client, Boeing, was aware of.

Spirit, Boeing issue statement

Meanwhile, Spirit spokesperson Joe Buccino stated that, while they are dedicated to resolving employees' issues, Paredes' claims were "unfounded."

“We remain committed to addressing concerns and continuously improving workplace safety standards."

Speaking to CBS News, a Boeing representative said that the company has a team that to find and fix flaws in fuselages made by Spirit AeroSystems. The spokesperson further said engineers examine each fuselage.

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