KW: As promised we contacted AIRNZ about the claims made in this article here because AIRNZ flies the 787 on its international routes:
Having forwarded the article to the AIRNZ executive Board I was pleasantly surprised to be contacted by a spokesman, a fairly senior and important spokesman being the Chief Flying Pilot for the company and we had a reasonably lengthy discussion where he revealed the processes that AIRNZ go through before accepting a new aircraft for the fleet. I was informed that AIRNZ have an engineering crew at Boeing all through the build process overseeing the ‘putting together’ of any new aircraft. He also re-stated something I already knew and that is that the aircraft parts are built in factories all around the world and parts are flown to Boeing for puttting together at a Boeing factory either in Seattle, Washington or Charleston South Carolina. The wings for example are built by Kawasaki in Japan, the tail In Italy and all theses items are flown in large 747 Transporters to be bolted together into an aircraft. AIRNZ has personel overseeing this process all through the build and they sign off on the plane before AIRNZ accepts it. We discussed the problems Boeing have in the South Carolina plant becasue it was created to non unionise the workforce to save costs and a lot of the issues we read about stem from employee dissatisfaction from the deunionisation of the Charleston site, where clearly there are issues that relate not only to the 787 but also the 737-MAX an aircraft where ther are serious and potentially explosive claims being brought against Boeing over that aircraft type, one that AIRNZ does not fly
Apparently only 2 of AIRNZ current fleet of 13 787’s were built in South Carolina. We also discussed the role of the FAA in recent 737-MAX crashes and how Boeing managed to avoid much of the oversight processes with the 737-MAX becasue it was a derivative type aircraft based on previously approved earlier variants of the 737. This of course did not apply to the 787 becasue it was a completely new design and aircraft type being a carbon fibre monocoque not an aluminium tube.
All together it was an interesting and useful discussion with someone who loved talking about his profession and the style of AIRNZ as a corporate body as well as his personel responsibility for Operational Safety so I felt satisfied that in all probability despite the questions and concerns being raised in the article or others, that the AIRNZ aircraft were probably the most safe of 787’s flying today