Virgin Australia grounds two planes after discovering unauthorised engine parts

20110602 Virgin Australia YR801 3664 (VOZ) 737-800 Take off and Taxi
Edited by Travel Weekly

    Two Virgin Australia planes have been pulled from service after the airline realised that the engines on these aircraft were fitted with unauthorised parts.

    The airline confirmed yesterday that the pair of Boeing 737-800s, a narrow bodied plane commonly used on domestic services between major cities, were the aircraft impacted, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

    Virgin was notified of falsified certification documents from supplier AOG Technics, which is currently facing a lawsuit from engine manufacturer CFM International after finding fake parts on 68 engines. AOG is being accused of fabricating documentation for parts that were later fitted to engines in the Airbus A320-family, alongside the Boeing 737 aircraft.

    Virgin replaced a low-pressure turbine blade on VH-VUT last week and an unauthorised seal on an inner high-pressure turbine nozzle on VH-YFR is being replaced.

    A spokesperson for Virgin said the airline was highly prioritising safety.

    “We apply a highly stringent approach to maintenance to ensure our safety standard is upheld,” the spokesperson said.

    Alongside Virgin, Southwest Airlines has also had to remove two unauthorised parts from a Boeing 737 as it becomes embroiled in the AOG saga.

    CFM’s suit is looking to force AOG to hand over more information and help airlines and manufacturers across the world track down these unauthorised parts.

    “Safety is our first priority, and we are taking aggressive legal action against AOG Technics to accelerate the industry’s ability to identify parts sold by this third-party with falsified documentation,” a CFM spokesperson said.

    CFM alleges that it first became aware of these fraudulent parts in July. AOG claims that the parts it supplied were new, but CFM argues they were clearly used.

    It’s been determined by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency that the parts were supplied with a falsified authorisation release certificate .

    Qantas and Rex said their Boeing 737-800s weren’t impacted.

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