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Delta is latest airline to find unapproved parts in aircraft engines

Delta Airlines, along with American, United and Southwest and Virgin Australia, have reported finding suspect parts on aircraft engines, according to news reports. (Dreamstime/TNS)

Delta Air Lines is the latest airline to discover unapproved parts on some of its jet engines.

Atlanta-based Delta said it was informed by one of its engine service providers of the problem on “a small number of engines” overhauled for the airline. Delta has more than 4,900 engines — for its mainline fleet and its regional jet fleet operated by regional carriers — and says the number of engines affected is less than 1%.

Delta previously said it had no aircraft flying with the unapproved engine parts. But in an updated disclosure on Tuesday, Delta clarified that it has no single aircraft operating with unapproved parts in both engines, and it is working closely with the FAA to remain compliant with regulations of engine maintenance.

The FAA issued a notification last month of unapproved parts that were sold by London, England-based AOG Technics LTD to aircraft maintenance firm TAP Maintenance & Engineering.

Other airlines including American, United and Southwest, as well as Virgin Australia, have also reported finding suspect parts on aircraft engines, according to news reports.

The FAA issued the notification after investigating suspected unapproved parts over the summer and finding bushings, or linings for holes, that were sold for GE model engines without GE’s approval.

AOG also does not hold an FAA production approval, according to the agency.

“If these bushings are installed or found in existing aircraft parts inventories, the FAA recommends that they be removed and quarantined to prevent installation until a determination can be made regarding their eligibility for installation,” the agency said.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) in August said reports submitted to the agency indicated that engine parts distributed by AOG were supplied with a falsified certificate.

EASA also said it “might take further action as a result of the ongoing investigations and information received from competent authorities, aircraft owners, operators, maintenance organisations, and distributors.”

The UK Civil Aviation Authority also said in August it was investigating the supply of the suspect unapproved parts from AOG.

CFM International, a jet engine supplier that’s a joint venture of GE Aerospace and Safran Aircraft Engines, filed a lawsuit against AOG last month. GE Aerospace said last week that the legal action includes securing a court order requiring that the broker release documentation of their parts sales and the origin of those parts.

“We are hopeful that this documentation will assist the industry in identifying unapproved parts sold by AOG,” GE Aerospace says on its website. “We remain united with the aviation community in working to keep unapproved parts out of the global supply chain.”


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