96 Aircraft Are Affected With Counterfeit Parts, CFM Said

CFM International, a jet engine manufacturer, announced on Wednesday that as many as 96 aircraft may be grounded for inspections. This comes as a result of an investigation into suspected supplies of engine components with counterfeit documentation by a UK distributor, which has now reached a UK court. Matthew Reeve, representing CFM and its co-owners General Electric and Safran, accused AOG Technics of executing a "calculated, dishonest, and complex scheme to deceive the market with fabricated documents on a large scale".


Reeve informed the High Court in London that 86 "counterfeit release certificates" had been discovered. By Monday, the number of engines suspected to contain parts with forged documents had increased to 96, up from the previously reported figure of 68. "Potentially, this could result in between 48 and 96 aircraft being grounded while airlines arrange for the parts to be removed," added Reeve.


GE, Safran, and CFM are suing London-based AOG Technics Limited and its sole director Jose Zamora Yrala after regulators announced they were investigating reports that it had supplied parts for widely used CFM56 jet engines supported by forged documents. On Tuesday, they requested the High Court to instruct AOG and Zamora Yrala to retain relevant documents and disclose sales documents relating to CF6 and CFM56 engines since February 2015.

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Lawyers for AOG and Zamora Yrala stated that the defendants are "fully cooperating" with an investigation by Britain's Civil Aviation Authority. They opposed the order on the grounds that it was both unnecessary and excessively burdensome and questioned the use that would be made of the detailed sales information. Tom Cleaver, AOG's lawyer, argued that GE did not require a large number of documents in order to contact companies that may have purchased components from AOG. AOG did not address the underlying claim of forgery in the hearing, which was called to discuss procedural issues. The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment on its main number, which went to hold then voicemail. The CFM56 jet engine powers the previous generation of Boeing 737s and about half of the previous generation of Airbus A320s. The twin-engined models are gradually being replaced by newer equivalents but thousands of them remain in service. So far findings affect a tiny fraction of the 23,000 CFM56 engines still in service worldwide, but analysts have said any sign of invalid parts entering the highly regulated aviation ecosystem must be taken seriously. The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), in a regulatory bulletin first reported by Bloomberg, told airlines in August that it had received reports of parts with suspected falsified documents being supplied by AOG Technics. Britain’s Civil Aviation Authority said in August it was “investigating the supply of a large number of suspect unapproved parts” through London-based AOG Technics.

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