Fake Jet Engine Parts Ground American, Southwest, United Planes as Scandal Grows

Three of the United States' biggest airlines found the uncertified parts in their planes.
American Airlines jets on the tarmac
American Airlines

American Airlines, Southwest Airlines, and United Airlines are among a growing list of air carriers that have grounded aircraft in the wake of a fake jet engine parts scandal that has rocked the aviation industry. Multiple have already replaced the uncertified parts and returned their planes to service, but close to 100 planes may still be affected worldwide.

Earlier this month, news broke that British aerospace parts supplier AOG Technics had forged certification documents for dozens of parts used in the CFM56 turbofan. This is the world’s most widely used jet engine, powering workhorses like the Airbus A320 and Boeing 737. The origin of the fake parts isn’t yet known, but some of their destinations are: The engines of at least four airlines around the globe.

Citing Bloomberg, Simple Flying reports Southwest Airlines was the first to find AOG parts in its aircraft. It traced its supply chain to the installation of two AOG-supplied low-pressure turbine blades in a 737, which it replaced on September 8 with certified parts before returning the Boeing to service. Virgin Australia reportedly later found and replaced the same part, along with a seal on an inner high-pressure turbine nozzle.

American Airlines also tracked down AOG parts on what a spokesperson reportedly described as “a small number of aircraft” during “internal audits,” leading to the planes being “immediately taken out of service.” United Airlines also reportedly found AOG-sourced compressor stator vanes on two of its planes, though whether those two planes have returned to service was not indicated.

AOG’s uncertified parts are currently believed to have made their way into as many as 96 planes worldwide. The Federal Aviation Administration has advised airlines and the rest of the aerospace industry to inspect their planes and audit inventories for uncertified, AOG-supplied parts.

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