The Ryanair Group has announced that it has found unauthorized parts in two of its aircraft engines. The discovery means that Ryanair joins a growing list of major airlines becoming embroiled in a scandal involving the distribution of components backed by falsified certification documents.
The Dublin-based airline group has reported that the suspect parts were discovered during scheduled maintenance checks in engines sent to overhaul centers located in Texas and Brazil in recent months. The rogue parts have since been removed from the engines, Chief Executive Officer Michael O’Leary said in an interview in Dublin on November 30, 2023.
Various aviation authorities and regulators worldwide have accused a little-known London-based organization, AOG Technics, of supplying thousands of engine parts with faked certification documents for both Airbus and Boeing aircraft.
The types affected include older generation 737-800s used by United Airlines, Delta Air Lines, American Airlines, Southwest Airlines, Alaska Airlines, and Virgin Australia, with Ryanair now joining the list.
O’Leary told reporters that he believed AOG supplied the parts that inadvertently ended up in Ryanair’s fleet. The Irish low-budget airline “has never done business directly with AOG, receiving the component for two engines instead via third parties, and the carrier remains largely unaffected overall by the scandal,” the CEO said.
Ryanair operates a 540-strong Boeing 737 fleet and has about 1,500 engines under the group’s ownership, according to O’Leary.
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The CFM56 engine affected by the scandal is the most popular type of aero engine in global aircraft fleets. The power plant is manufactured by CFM International, a joint venture between Safran of France and General Electric of the USA.
In October 2023, CFM International said that they had so far found 126 CFM-56 engines containing suspect parts sold by AOG. Indeed, the company disclosed that some had been fitted on engines being overhauled in its own repair shops.
Airlines were ordered to check their spare CFM engine parts inventories after the use of unauthenticated parts was first reported by several airlines in September 2023. The components found in the Ryanair engines have been sent to the consortium leading the investigation into AOG while the engines remain in shops, O’Leary added.
In the wake of the engine parts scandal, there needs to be tighter control over third parties who supply parts for jet engines, according to O’Leary.
“Given the level of paperwork that already exists, I’m not quite sure how anybody was able to come up with dodgy parts,” he added.
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