The plane is one of two 747 jumbo jets being modified to meet the needs of safely carrying the US President and staff. While it is not a large part of Boeing’s business, it is a high-profile “Halo” project that is crucial to cementing the company’s battered reputation. So any concern about the president’s future jets is about the last thing Boeing has to say.
Boeing would not confirm or deny the report, saying, “This is a personnel matter and for contractual reasons we are unable to comment further.”
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“Boeing reported to the Air Force a personnel matter related to the VC-25B program,” said US Air Force chief of media operations Ann Stefnick, the same name Boeing uses for the construction project, as is the Air Force One designation. Given in a plane only when the President is on board.
“There has been no impact on the ongoing modification efforts of the two aircraft,” Stefnik said. “The Air Force … closely monitors production quality and holds Boeing accountable for ensuring that the VC-25B program meets stringent quality control requirements.”
Recent history of quality problems
That won’t be good news for Boeing any time soon, but it’s especially bad now.
The aircraft manufacturer’s reputation on quality has been badly damaged in recent years by a number of problems – most notably the 737 MAX, which was grounded for 20 months after two fatal crashes that killed 346 people. The company lost more than $20 billion due to problems with Max.
And in March 2019, just days after the second 737 MAX crash, a top Air Force acquisition official said Boeing was in a “serious situation” with flawed inspections of a tanker aircraft built for the Air Force, when some planes were left with garbage. More equipment was found. after they have been distributed.
Eleven months later, Boeing revealed that it had found similar debris in the fuel tanks of several 737 MAX jets that were sitting in storage during the grounding. a few months later new York Times
Additional quality problems were reported at the Boeing factory in South Carolina that manufactures the 787 Dreamliner widebody jet.
Boeing denied that there was a problem at the South Carolina factory. But later in 2020 the company was forced to recommend temporarily grounding some of the 787s to inspect and repair parts of the fuselage. And in July of this year additional concerns about quality control issues forced it to halt deliveries of the jet again.
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Meanwhile, the alleged tequila bottle investigation isn’t the first problem with Boeing’s Air Force One project.
The planes were initially scheduled to be delivered in 2024, but earlier this year Boeing revealed it wanted to delay deliveries by about a year, and would seek more funding as a result. Boeing cited delays related to the pandemic and the firing of a now-bankrupt subcontractor who was doing much of the internal work on the jet.
— Granthshala’s Ellie Kaufman contributed to this report.