Former Boeing Employee Found Dead in the United States

In a tragic turn of events, the body of John Barnett, a former Boeing employee who had raised concerns about the company’s production standards, was discovered in the United States. Barnett, who had been with Boeing for 32 years before retiring in 2017, was found deceased in a car in a hotel parking lot on March 9. Law enforcement authorities suspect suicide as the cause of his death.

Boeing Corporation expressed its condolences over Barnett’s passing, stating, “We are saddened by Mr. Barnett’s passing and our thoughts are with his family and friends.” Barnett had served as a quality manager at Boeing’s North Charleston plant, specifically involved in the production of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner long-haul aircraft.

The late employee had made public statements regarding the pressure faced by employees from management to install substandard parts in the aircraft to avoid production delays. Barnett also highlighted the issue of oxygen systems in the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, revealing a troubling failure rate of 25%. This meant that in an emergency, one in four breathing masks would be non-functional.

Despite raising concerns with his superiors, Barnett indicated that no action was taken by the company. Following his retirement, he engaged in a legal battle with Boeing, alleging that false information was spread about him, affecting his career prospects. At the time of his death, Barnett was in Charleston for court hearings related to his litigation against the corporation.

Emirates airline president, Tim Clark, previously expressed apprehension over Boeing’s declining standards, noting a deterioration in aircraft quality. Clark highlighted an incident on January 5, 2024, involving an Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 9, where a fuselage section detached during a flight, causing cabin depressurization.

Barnett’s passing shines a light on the challenges faced by whistleblowers within the aviation industry and raises questions about the integrity of production standards at Boeing. As investigations continue into the circumstances surrounding his death, the legacy of John Barnett serves as a reminder of the importance of upholding transparency and accountability in aircraft manufacturing processes.