Sydney: Virgin Australia Airlines has discovered a suspected unapproved part on one of its aircraft that originated with an obscure UK-based supplier, the latest in the ongoing effort by airlines and maintenance workshops to identify and remove the components that have infiltrated the global fleet.
The Australian airline identified the part supplied by AOG Technics on one of its planes following an investigation, according to a person familiar with the matter. The aircraft was temporarily taken out of service to remove the part, said the person, asking not to be identified as the matter was confidential.
“At Virgin Australia, safety is our highest priority and we apply a highly stringent approach to maintenance to ensure our safety standard is upheld,” the airline said in a response to questions.
The latest discovery shows how the bogus parts have proliferated around the industry, from the US to Australia. Southwest Airlines Co. a week ago said it had removed two “suspect parts” traced to closely held AOG Technics from one of its Boeing 737 aircraft, and engine makers General Electric and Safran have sued AOG after finding that parts with falsified certificates had found their way onto engines.
The widening scandal has shaken an industry where safety is the guiding principle, with exacting standards for aircraft manufacturing and maintenance that demands each component be verified.
Parts supplied by AOG went into engines that power many older-generation Airbus SE A320 and Boeing 737 planes, by far the most widely flown category of commercial aircraft. CFM International, the world’s largest jet-engine manufacturer, filed a lawsuit in the UK against AOG Technics. The suit seeks an injunction to force AOG to provide more information to aid the aviation industry’s search for suspect components.