European aviation regulators have determined that counterfeit parts were supplied for repairs of jet engines that power many older-generation Airbus SE A320 and Boeing Co. 737 planes.
It was discovered that a London-based company, AOG Technics Ltd, supplied parts with forged Authorised Release Certificates (ARCs), which are required to ensure the safety of the parts. The ARCs falsely claimed that the parts were manufactured by the original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), but the OEMs have confirmed that they did not produce the certificates or the parts.
The spread of undocumented or potentially faked parts into the engine supply chain is rare and treated with utmost urgency in the aviation industry. Every component in an aircraft must have verified provenance to ensure safety, as it is impossible to know whether uncertified parts will be as durable under stress.
Manufacturers and regulators sounded the alarm weeks ago, triggering a global scramble to trace parts supplied by AOG Technics and identify affected aircraft. It is unclear how many counterfeits may have been installed or how many aircraft might be affected. The CFM56, the world’s best-selling jet engine, is installed on thousands of narrow-body planes that are a staple of the global fleet.
The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has told operators to quarantine parts that are backed by false documentation. EASA also said that AOG Technics has failed to provide details on the actual origin of the questionable parts.
“The documentation of parts is a very critical issue,” said Klaus Mueller, a senior adviser at AeroDynamic Advisory and a former senior executive at MTU Aero Engines AG and Deutsche Lufthansa AG’s maintenance arm. “The industry is taking this topic very, very seriously.”
The investigation into the bogus parts is ongoing, and it is possible that more aircraft may be affected. Airlines and regulators are working to ensure that the safety of the global fleet is not compromised.
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