General Electric Co. and Safran SA said thousands of jet-engine parts with falsified documents were sold to global aircraft fleets at the hands of a UK supplier, potentially wreaking havoc among airlines now racing to identify the components on their jets.
(Bloomberg) — General Electric Co. and Safran SA said thousands of jet-engine parts with falsified documents were sold to global aircraft fleets at the hands of a UK supplier, potentially wreaking havoc among airlines now racing to identify the components on their jets.
The allegations came Wednesday at a London court after the companies — who are partners in the CFM International engine consortium — had asked a London judge to force AOG Technics Ltd. to hand over documents relating to “every single sale of products.” A London judge ordered the little-known spare parts firm that’s at the heart of a bogus components scandal to hand over the paperwork.
There is documentary evidence that “thousands of jet engine parts” were sold by AOG to airlines and to aircraft maintenance and repair organizations, lawyers for the engine makers said in court filings.
AOG was set up in 2015 by Jose Zamora Yrala, who hasn’t responded to calls or e-mails since Bloomberg first reported on the fallout last month. The European Union Aviation Safety Agency has said that it suspects “numerous” certifications for parts supplied by the company were forged.
Suppliers and airlines are racing to assess the fallout from the scandal involving parts with unclear origin. So far, several airlines have said they’ve identified components on their older single-aisle jets and have switched out the parts, causing further strain on an already tight spare-parts market.
United Airlines Holdings Inc., Southwest Airlines Co. And Virgin Australia Airlines Pty have all found AOG parts in their fleets.
“The apparent large-scale falsification of documentation uncovered by the claimants gives rise to the risk that evidence relevant to these proceedings will be destroyed by the defendants,” lawyers for CFM said in the filings.
As many as 96 engines impacted by parts supplied by AOG were identified as of Monday, General Electric’s lawyer said in the court.
The disclosure features a wealth of requested detail including background information such as the identity of the manufacturer and of any entity that ever performed maintenance or repair service on the relevant parts, AOG’s lawyer said in court filings.
The details by the manufacturers sought are “onerous” and “there is no evidence that it is necessary for all parts to be removed from the supply chain,” lawyers for AOG Technics responded in documents prepared for the court hearing.
The UK’s aviation regulator is already investigating the issues and the request goes “far beyond what is necessary” for public safety considerations, they said.
CFM International makes the CFM56 engine for many older Airbus A320 and Boeing 737 airliners, by far the most widely flown category in civil aviation.
Regulators have said that some of the bogus parts were for critical gear like engine blades, raising the stakes to find the components because they might pose a serious safety risk.
The London case stems from Bloomberg first reporting on the scandal in August.
“We applaud the court’s ruling compelling AOG Technics to release documentation that will aid the industry in more rapidly identifying parts sold with fraudulent documentation so they can be promptly addressed,” a spokesperson for CFM said.
AOG has 14 days to comply with the order.
–With assistance from Ryan Beene.
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