BREAKING NEWS: Legal move by Gloucestershire aviation industry over rogue parts
By Simon Hacker | 21st September 2023
Key players in Gloucestershire's aviation industry have stepped in to force legal action over the global sale of thousands of unapproved engine parts.
Untrustworthy parts with falsified documents of airworthiness (ARCs) that include propellor blades are alleged to have been sold by London-based parts broker AOG Technics Ltd to global aircraft fleets, the High Court has heard.
Given the potential for major safety compromise, airlines around the world operating Airbus A320 and Boeing 737 craft are currently racing to trace and replace the rogue parts.
In a ruling from the High Court on Wednesday, AOG Technics, founded by Jose Zamora Yrala, now have 14 days to hand over details on any CFM56 and CF6 parts it acquired and sold, along with all relevant supporting documentation.
The court action, as reported by Aviation Week yesterday, was the result of a lawsuit filed by CFM International and its co-owning partners, GE Aerospace and Safran, who together have major manufacturing operations in Bishop's Cleeve, Cheltenham and Gloucester. Both GE and Safran operate an ongoing commitment to supply spare engines and parts for the CMF56 family of engines which have a service lifetime of more than 30 years.
AOG Technics now faces a charge of falsifying ARCs, which relate to up to 50 engine part numbers, while media in the airline industry report that there are more than 30,000 of CFM's CFM56-model engines in active use on thousands of airliners globally - all of which will need to be investigated for their parts' authenticity.
The court heard that General Electric Co. and Safran SA claimed thousands of jet-engine parts with falsified documents were sold to global aircraft fleets by AOG Technics, the High Court proceedings coming in the wake of a statement earlier this month from safety enforcers the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).
The statement as reported by Bloomberg said: "The UK CAA has been investigating the supply of a large number of Suspect Unapproved Parts, all of which were supplied through a UK based company, AOG Technics Limited." Additionally, the CAA recommended that "all affected parts should be quarantined to prevent installation. If a part is found with falsified ARC which has already been installed it should be replaced with an approved part."
Requested detail in the court hearing included background information on the identity of the manufacturer and of any entity that ever performed maintenance or repair service on the relevant parts, AOG's lawyer said. However, AOG Technics' lawyer stated, in a document prepared for the hearing, that that details requested by the manufacturers were "onerous" and "there is no evidence that it is necessary for all parts to be removed from the supply chain."
The CAA has meanwhile moved to calm public fears by stating that the body is already investigating the issues, and the request goes "far beyond what is necessary" for public safety considerations.
● Speaking about the 14-day order, a spokesperson for CFM said: "We applaud the court's ruling compelling AOG Technics to release documentation that will aid the industry in more rapidly identifying parts sold with fraudulent documentation so they can be promptly addressed."
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