Several major airlines have started pulling jets from their fleets after reports found possibly faulty parts were installed.
American Airlines, United Airlines and Southwest Airlines have grounded several planes as they investigate parts sold by one company in particular: AOG Technics. The company, according to a lawsuit filed by General Electric, fabricated safety certificates needed for parts to be installed on passenger airplanes. Across the airline industry, 126 engines were found to contain parts from the company.
Airlines said they quickly identified all planes that could be affected by the potentially faulty parts, with passenger safety no longer a concern.
The defective parts mostly were found in the popular CFM56 engine.
Airline parts are supposed to go through a rigorous testing process and come with certificates that can record each part’s testing history. However, federal regulators in the U.S. and European Union allege that AOG fabricated the certificates attached to parts big and small.
The parts sold with apparently fabricated certificates ranged from nuts and bolts to blades used in engine propulsion.
Many of the engines with faulty parts were built by General Electric. It has filed a lawsuit against AOG, which sold the accessories to Boeing as the parts made their way to the major airlines.
GE apparently was aware of the problem as early as June and began taking measures to stop its interactions with AOG as well as inform all airlines about the issue.
GE’s lawsuit claims that AOG has run a comprehensive fraud to sell parts to airlines. According to the suit, AOG falsified safety certificates and even used stock photos for employees’ LinkedIn profiles. Court documents also show that AOG’s founder and owner, Jose Zamora Yrala, is the only shareholder. According to a report from The Wall Street Journal, when reporters went to visit the company’s headquarters in London, nobody in the building had heard of AOG Technics.