CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Airlines around the world are scrambling to reschedule flights. Battery fires on two planes flown by Japanese carriers sparked the latest FAA investigation. All Dreamliners are ordered to stay out of the skies until the investigation is complete.
Global carriers followed suit and grounded their planes as a precaution. Four of the planes made in North Charleston were sold to Air India. The carrier has decided to ground its fleet of six Dreamliners until the FAA completes its investigation.
Production continues as normal at the Boeing plant in North Charleston.
Mary Schiavo, former Inspector General of The U.S. Department of Transportation said Boeing must narrow down the issues and figure out if the problem is design, manufacture or assembly.
"Boeing has one really important job to do and it's very important because this battery and electrical smoke could have killed passengers. It could have brought down a plane and could've been a very bad event," said Schiavo.
Workers at the North Charleston plant assemble the tail end and back passenger section of the plane. So far none of the reported issues have been related to production here.
Schiavo said, "One of the first things I wanted to find out was where those plans were manufactured because civic pride says, I hope they're not Charleston airplanes," she said, " At this point the battery battery doesn't appear to be an assembly problem, so you can't blame Washington (Everett) or Charleston."
Schiavo a local herself mentioned that Boeing may have to pay for all of the cancelled flights, loss of passengers and emergency evacuations. Once an emergency slide is deployed it is very expensive to repack and the plane must also be recertified.
"It'll help Boeing financially in the long run but it's still Boeing's product and they'll have to stand behind it even if it's in some cases not their fault," said Schiavo.
About 6-thousand workers are employed at the assembly plant in North Charleston.