Virgin Australia has confirmed that two of its Boeing 737-800 jets were grounded due to the aircraft potentially being fitted with “falsely documented” engine parts.
The development relates to a UK-based parts supplier called AOG Technics, that has been accused of providing fake components that have been used in 68 jet engines.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald (SMH), Virgin Australia became aware of the potential issue after the carrier was notified about AOG Technics.
A low-pressure turbine blade on an aircraft registered as VH-VUT was replaced last week and over the weekend it was found that an inner high-pressure turbine nozzle for an aircraft registered as VH-YFR also needed to be replaced.
“We apply a highly stringent approach to maintenance to ensure our safety standard is upheld,” a spokesperson for Virgin Australia told the SMH.
On September 7, 2023, a lawsuit against AOG Technics was filed in the UK by CFM International, a joint venture of General Electric and Safran SA.
At the time, a spokesperson for CFM International said: “Safety is our first priority, and we are taking aggressive legal action against AOG Technics to accelerate the industry’s ability to identify parts sold by this third-party with falsified documentation.”
In August 2023, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) advised aircraft owners, operators, maintenance organizations, and distributors to inspect their records to “determine whether aircraft or engine parts have been obtained from AOG Technics, either directly or indirectly”.
In a report by Bloomberg on August 31, 2023, the publication said that regulators had found that AOG had supplied parts for CFM56 engines, used in older-generation Airbus SE A320 and Boeing 737 planes.
No incidents have so far been linked to falsely certified parts and CFM is not affiliated with AOG.