CFM International Inc. said 68 jet engines were fitted with spare parts backed by fraudulent documentation from a little-known UK-based supplier, an early indication of how broadly the suspect components have spread into the global fleet.
(Bloomberg) — CFM International Inc. said 68 jet engines were fitted with spare parts backed by fraudulent documentation from a little-known UK-based supplier, an early indication of how broadly the suspect components have spread into the global fleet.
Shortly after CFM, the joint venture of General Electric Co. and Safran SA, disclosed the finding to Bloomberg News, Southwest Airlines Co. confirmed that it had removed two “suspect parts” traced to closely-held AOG Technics Ltd from one of its Boeing Co. 737 aircraft. It was the first major carrier to publicly disclose doing so.
The developments provide the first hint at how many older-generation Airbus SE A320 and Boeing. Co. 737 aircraft may have been fitted with spare parts that London-based AOG allegedly sold with falsified airworthiness records.
The proliferation of undocumented parts has sent shock waves through an industry where every component requires verification to ensure aircraft safety. Without such assurance, it’s impossible to know how durable uncertified parts will be under stress.
CFM, the world’s largest jet-engine manufacturer, said Friday that the parts had made their way to 68 engines in a statement announcing it had filed a lawsuit in the UK against closely-held AOG. The suit seeks an injunction to force AOG to provide more information to aid the aviation industry’s search for suspect components. It also seeks to recover any parts in AOG’s possession purported to be from CFM or GE.
“Safety is our first priority, and we are taking aggressive legal action against AOG Technics to accelerate the industry’s ability to identify parts sold by this third-party with falsified documentation,” a CFM spokesman said in a statement.
Representatives for AOG could not be reached for immediate comment.
Regulators, airlines and other industry players have since been scouring their records to hunt down the suspect components sold by AOG, the obscure supplier at the center of the crisis. AOG has no direct affiliation with CFM or its partners.
To date, CFM and GE Aerospace have found 78 documents they say are falsified and which cover 52 CFM56 engine part numbers, along with two faked records for CF6 components.
The European Union Aviation Safety Agency earlier this week determined that the components backed by forged documentation included turbine blades, a critical component of an aircraft’s propulsion system.
Read More: Southwest Air Says Engine on Jet Used Suspect Supplier’s Parts
In response to questions from Bloomberg, Southwest said that two low-pressure turbine blades were the components it pulled from one of its engines.
The carrier took “precautionary and immediate measures” to remove them based on the fact they were supplied by AOG, said Brandy King, a spokeswoman. The parts were found in an engine on a Boeing Co. 737 NG, she said, without further specifying which variant of the aircraft.
No incidents linked to the suspect parts have been identified, CFM and GE have said.
“We remain fully engaged with aviation regulatory authorities to support their investigations into AOG Technics, and we continue to work with our customers to assess the authenticity of documentation for parts they acquired directly or indirectly from AOG Technics,” the CFM spokesman said.
–With assistance from Siddharth Philip and Albertina Torsoli.
(Adds Southwest Airlines disclosure from second paragraph)
More stories like this are available on bloomberg.com
©2023 Bloomberg L.P.