Former Boeing manager says push to increase production of 737 Max planes created a 'factory in chaos'

Former Boeing manager says push to increase production of 737 Max planes created a 'factory in chaos'
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A former Boeing manager says that he warned the company about issues at a manufacturing plant caused by a push to increase production that he believes contributed to the two deadly crashes involving the company's 737 Max line of commercial aircraft.

In an interview with NBC News released Monday, Ed Pierson said that he sent numerous warnings to both Boeing and National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) officials warning them about problems at the company's Renton, Wash., plant that he said led a "factory in chaos."

“I know people that worked more than five weeks in a row [without a day off,]" Pierson told NBC of the factory, which is Boeing's main manufacturing plant and the site where at least one of the aircraft involved in two deadly crashes within six months was made.

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“It just became full speed out of control," Pierson said of the situation that had developed by May of last year. "The sheer volume was just overwhelming.”

"Employees are fatigued from having to work at a very high pace for an extended period of time," he wrote to his superiors at the time, according to emails obtained by NBC News. "Fatigued employees make mistakes."

“Frankly right now all my internal warning bells are going off,” Pierson added in an email to the general manager of the 737 Max program. "And for the first time in my life, I’m sorry to say that I’m hesitant about putting my family on a Boeing airplane."

Hundreds of people were killed in two separate crashes involving 737 Max aircraft in late 2018 and early 2019, leading to every major air authority around the world issuing orders for the planes to be grounded.

Boeing maintained in a statement to NBC News that the problems identified by Pierson were unrelated to the issue thought to have caused the two crashes.

"Although Mr. Pierson did not provide specific information or detail about any particular defect or quality issue, Boeing took his concerns about 737 production disruption seriously," a spokesperson said.

"Importantly, the suggestion by Mr. Pierson of a link between his concerns and the recent MAX accidents is completely unfounded," the spokesperson continued. "Mr. Pierson raises issues about the production of the 737 MAX, yet none of the authorities investigating these accidents have found that production conditions in the 737 factory contributed in any way to these accidents."

Pierson is set to testify this week before the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure on issues related to the two deadly crashes.