In a recent development that has sent shockwaves throughout the aviation world, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued an Unapproved Parts Notification (UPN) on September 21, 2023, regarding a critical bushing part supplied by AOG Technics. The crux of the matter? This part lacked the essential FAA production approval, and associated documents were found to be “falsified.”
AOG Technics, known for its involvement in the aerospace spare parts industry, had supplied these questionable parts, raising concerns about the safety and the authenticity of components used in the aviation sector. Airplane parts suppliers and, especially, marketplaces for aerospace parts and supplies, play a crucial role in supporting the MRO sector, airplane operators, and the whole aviation industry in an unforeseen situation like such explains Toma Matutyte, CEO of Locatory.com in the following insightful article.
TAP Air Portugal, one of the major European flag carriers, was the first to raise the alarm early this Summer. They have discovered that some parts, namely, engine bushings, installed on CFM56 engines, were worn out significantly, despite having been documented as completely new. This led to the discovery of false documentation for the parts supplied by AOG Technics.
How The AOG Technics Scandal Unfolded
UK-based broker AOG Technics, a name that might have gone unnoticed in the vast realm of aerospace suppliers ever since the company was founded back in 2015, suddenly found itself in the spotlight. The FAA’s UPN demanded immediate action: the removal and quarantine of uncertified bushings to prevent their installation until their eligibility could be verified.
After the London High Court issued a ruling, instructing AOG Technics to provide the record of its transactions with a supplier and to give more details on any CFM56 and CF6 parts it has sold along with the documentation for such parts, the company has gone completely silent.
These parts had been used in CFM56 engines, a workhorse of aviation, frequently seen in older-generation Airbus SE A320 and Boeing 737 aircraft.
The CFM56 engine, manufactured by CFM International, has long held the title of the world’s best-selling aircraft engine. The ripple effect of this scandal is undeniable, but what does it signify for the MRO industry?
Implications for the Aircraft MRO Industry
The MRO industry’s ability to respond effectively will determine its resilience and continued trustworthiness in the eyes of airlines and passengers. There probably will be several implications, as the aviation MRO sector is poised for increased regulatory scrutiny and stricter compliance measures. Moreover, there could also be a quality assurance reassessment as MRO facilities will need to revisit their procedures and quality control principles. This leads further to the issue of the security of supply chains as MRO companies will need to collaborate with trusted suppliers and enhance supply chain transparency to prevent counterfeit parts from infiltrating the system.
Reputation is everything in the MRO industry. MRO companies may need to rebuild or reinforce their reputation, demonstrating their commitment to safety, quality, and compliance. Yet, those market players that adapt swiftly and demonstrate their commitment to safety and quality may find new business opportunities. Airlines and regulators will be seeking reliable partners in the MRO sector who can provide the highest levels of assurance and compliance.
The reminder of importance of reliable airplane parts suppliers and marketplaces
The AOG Technics scandal serves as a stark reminder of the critical role that MRO companies play in maintaining the safety and reliability of the aviation industry. While these developments present immediate challenges, they also offer opportunities for innovation and growth for MRO companies that can adapt to the evolving landscape of aviation safety and compliance.
The short-term implication, which is already manifesting itself, and is about to undoubtedly have further impact on the future of the whole sector, is the growing need for a timely supply of critical parts for the affected airplanes, which are crucial to keep them flying.
As the aviation industry embarks on this journey of introspection and reform, the MRO sector will stand at the forefront of ensuring that aircraft continue to fly safely and reliably. The implications of the AOG Technics scandal may have a scope big enough to reshape the MRO industry, with an enduring commitment to safety and mutual trust among the business partners within the sector.