UPDATED: Package holiday and travel giant TUI has denied being affected by the AOG Technics parts scandal after it was claimed a component linked to AOG was found in one of its aircraft engines.
A report by The Independent quoting a TUI statement previously claimed that the leisure carrier had been forced to remove a questionable component supplied by AOG Technics from one of its aircraft.
“We’re aware of the issue surrounding parts being supplied by a particular agency and we would like to thank the CAA for their swift notification and support,” TUI said in a statement. “We can confirm that one installed component was identified and quickly removed, and the company in question has been removed from our approved supplier list.”
The airline added: “We would like to reassure customers that a full audit has taken place and no other parts supplied by the named company are present in the TUI Airways fleet.”
However, a senior spokesperson for TUI told AeroTime that the airline found no dubious part on its engines.
“I can confirm that TUI doesn’t have and never had any relation to that company and that all TUI engines are OEM maintained and go through their shops,” the spokesperson said in an emailed statement, adding that a plane leased to TUI did have an engine with a suspect part, but that it was removed before the airline used the plane.
What is the AOG fake parts scandal?
CFM International, which builds the engines affected by AOG’s falsely certified parts, confirmed on October 4, 2023, that it had identified 95 falsified documents covering 61 CFM56 part numbers and two falsified documents covering two CF6 part numbers.
According to the engine maker, to date it has identified 126 engines suspected of being fitted with falsely documented parts. However, it is not known if the latest TUI incident is included in that figure.
In September 2023, CFM declared that 96 engines had been affected.
It is understood that AOG supplied parts for CFM56 engines used in older-generation Airbus SE A320 and Boeing 737 planes.
AeroTime has identified seven airlines that have publicly confirmed that they have been impacted by AOG practices, namely Delta Air Lines, WestJet, American Airlines, United Airlines, Southwest Airlines, TAP and Virgin Australia Airlines.
According to the Mail Online, Aer Lingus, British Airways, EasyJet, Jet 2, Ryanair, Virgin Atlantic and Wizz Air have all confirmed they have been untouched by the saga.
On October 4, 2023, CFM, a joint venture between GE Aerospace and Safran Aircraft Engines, announced that, after extensive reviews, it had identified four instances where parts from AOG had even entered its own Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul (MRO) facilities, impacting 16 engines.
The fake part that first triggered this crisis was discovered by engineers at TAP Air Portugal’s maintenance subsidiary in spring 2023.
According to an investigation by Bloomberg, the engineers noticed that a component for a CFM56 turbine showed signs of wear, though the paperwork showed that the part was new.
When Safran was advised by TAP, the French company discovered that the document had been forged, and from there the scandal deepened.
At the High Court in London on September 20, 2023, CFM successfully lobbied for AOG Technics to release documents showing sales of any CFM56 and CF6 parts. These are currently under review by CFM.
“We are working collaboratively with operators so they can promptly remove the unauthorized parts from their engines in accordance with the recommendations issued by the regulatory agencies. We remain united with the aviation community in working to keep unapproved parts out of the global supply chain,” CFM International said.
On September 21, 2023, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued an Unapproved Parts Notification (UPN) over a bushing part supplied by AOG Technics without FAA production approval.
In the notification, the FAA declared that associated documentation for the parts had been “falsified”.
“If these bushings are installed or found in existing aircraft parts inventories, the FAA recommends that they be removed and quarantined to prevent installation until a determination can be made regarding their eligibility for installation,” the FAA’s notification read.
A spokesperson from the UK Civil Aviation Authority recently said: “We can confirm that we are one of a number of organizations looking into this, but we are unable to comment further on ongoing investigations.”