How safe is air travel really? Not only are reports of pilots suddenly suffering heart attacks rising, but the airline supplies industry is also showing a massive quality problem. Cheap spare parts instead of approved quality products raise questions.
A London-based company was recently warned by European aviation regulators for supplying “unapproved parts” for older Airbus SE A320s and Boeing Co 737s. Southwest Airlines has now confirmed that one of these parts, a counterfeit AOG Technics low pressure turbine blade, was found on its Boeing 737NG aircraft. When it was discovered, the airline immediately replaced the part.
The AOG Technics scam has spread from Europe to America. The European Aviation Safety Agency recently revealed that several Authorized Release Certificates for parts supplied by AOG Technics were forged. AOG sold counterfeit parts for the CFM56 engines used to repair the Airbus SE A320 and Boeing Co. 737, including those used by low-cost airlines. But till now there is no report about inspection of such spare parts and replacement with quality products from there.
CFM International, the engine’s GE-Safran manufacturing company, discovered 78 forged documents for 52 part numbers of the CFM56 engine and two forged records for CF6 components. AOG has been operating in the UK since 2015 and has supplied an unknown number of CFM56 parts with counterfeit certification to the global parts market. A circumstance which requires a more comprehensive investigation with regard to flight safety.
Although no serious problems have been reported so far, such cheap counterfeit parts can cause widespread problems and even crash passenger planes. Let’s not forget that Boeing was already the focus of scrutiny in 2014 for installing such cheap parts. What other scams will emerge?