The Scope of Bogus Airplane Parts Scandal Has Not Yet Been Determined

(AP Photo/LM Otero)

Who or what comprises AOG Technics, a firm that supposedly specializes in engine materials, engine leasing, airframe parts, and financial solutions? AOG is a parts broker, a middleman that supplies parts to independent firms that airlines contract to do repairs on their planes. The parts in question were used to repair jet engines made by CFM International, an aircraft engine manufacturer based in Cincinnati, Ohio. The company is a joint venture between GE Aerospace and Safran Aircraft Engines. It was originally formed to build and support the CFM56 series of turbofan engines.


Earlier this month, it was discovered that thousands of engine part certifications supplied by AOG had been falsified. On Sept. 20, The London High Court issued a ruling that gives the company 14 days to hand over details on any CFM56 and CF6 parts it acquired and sold, along with relevant supporting paperwork. The ruling came in response to a lawsuit filed Sept. 7 by CFM and its co-owners, GE Aerospace and Safran, against AOG Technics and its founder, Jose Zamora Yrala.

In one instance, the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) turned over one of its AAC-038 approval tags, later confirmed as fake, that came with 32 overhauled CFM56 high-pressure compressor (HPC) stage 1 vanes. Two fake FAA 8130-3s covering hundreds of GE CF6 parts were found, the summary said. More than 80 EASA Form 1s representing thousands of CFM56 parts, including turbine blades and seals, have been flagged and confirmed as forgeries. In all cases, the fake documentation was made to look like it came from CFM or one of its owners. 

Now, I have no idea what those parts are or how significant they are to keeping a plane in the air. What I do know is that at any altitude, every single part of any airplane needs to be authentic.

There can be only one reason AOG did this: greed.

As this investigation proceeds, it will be of vital importance for authorities to find where AOG acquired the parts. Then CFM can confirm or deny whether or not they are airworthy. Equally important is zeroing in on exactly who AOG sold them to, so any that are deemed not to be airworthy can then be confiscated.


In a statement, CFM reiterated the need for AOG to comply with furnishing the documents: “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. Safety is our first priority, and we are taking aggressive legal action against AOG Technics for selling unapproved aircraft engine parts with falsified airworthiness documentation. We remain united with the aviation community in working to keep unapproved parts out of the global supply chain.”

A number of airlines have confirmed having AOG Technics parts in their engines. Those include Southwest Airlines, United Airlines, and Virgin Australia. Bloomberg was the first to report the airlines involved.

CFM and its co-owners, GE Aerospace and Safran, have been working with investigators since June to identify parts sold by AOG Technics with falsified authentication, according to court documents. TAP Maintenance and Engineering flagged EASA Form 1’s linked to “certain” CFM56 parts that were allegedly generated by CFM. However, CFM confirmed the records were false, highlighting fake purchase order numbers and an unknown signature. TAP then turned over 24 more Form 1’s shipped with CFM56 parts bought by AOG Technics and allegedly generated by the manufacturer. Those were confirmed by CFM to be forged as well.

The findings prompted CFM to notify the airline industry and regulators, starting a global records review to find parts sold by AOG Technics and either pull them from service or remove them from spare parts supplies if the related documentation was deemed to be fake.


In early August, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) issued a bulletin urging both operators and repair stations to review their records and to red flag any parts in their possession that were supplied by AOG Technics. They were instructed to verify if the airworthiness approval tags were generated by the companies listed on them. Any parts with falsified records were to be held aside according to EASA. EASA later confirmed that many forged documents were discovered.

The FAA has confirmed that it’s working with its European counterparts on this very important issue. In a statement, the FAA emphasized the seriousness of the investigation: “The FAA is investigating the issue and is coordinating closely with the European Aviation Safety Agency and the UK Civil Aviation Authority. The FAA takes suspected unapproved parts cases very seriously and takes action as necessary for safety.”

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So far, approximately 100 planes are known to be involved worldwide. Southwest Airlines was the first to report that they had discovered unregistered parts earlier this month. On Thursday night, American Airlines became the fourth, and to this point, the last airline to have found parts from AOG on its planes.

Many questions need to be answered as to how a suspicious company, with a P.O. Box for an address and fake employees, could dupe some of the world’s largest airlines. Now, regulators, airlines, as well as parts suppliers around the world are desperately trying to track down possible bogus parts, as the shadow of AOG Technics spreads worldwide.


This is a dangerous and unnerving set of circumstances. If CFM knew about falsified documents in June, why did it take months for the public to be made aware? Industry supporters will say they were confident that no one was in danger, but realistically how could they know that? For that matter, can the public’s safety be assured even now?

The airline industry has struggled with flight delays, cancellations, and staffing issues. Now, they have a major issue with contraband parts. As the focus of the industry seems to have shifted from safety to profit restoration after the pandemic, we as potential passengers must demand that safety due diligence be restored.


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