Ryanair is latest carrier to be drawn into fake parts scandal

Ryanair has become the latest airline to become embroiled in the emerging scandal over counterfeit airliner engine components, after revealing that it found two suspect parts during routine maintenance checks on its fleet.

The company’s chief executive Michael O’Leary told Bloomberg that the Suspected Unapproved Parts (SUPs) were discovered in Texas and Brazil in its fleet of 737s during the last few months and have been removed from the planes’ engines.

Earlier this year, an investigation by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) concluded that parts with forged documentation had been supplied to airlines for the repair of Boeing and Airbus planes by UK company AOG Technics Ltd.

The distributor is facing legal action by jet engine manufacturer CFM International and co-owners General Electric and Safran in a UK court, with the complaint alleging that it allowed thousands of parts for the widely used CFM56 engine with forged documentation to be shipped to customers in a “deliberate, dishonest and sophisticated scheme.”

O’Leary said the SUPs had been supplied by a third party, and it had no dealings with AOG directly. The cases have not had much of an impact on its ability to operate. Other carriers that have been affected include United Airlines, Delta, America, Southwest, and Virgin Australia.

According to a recent article in the British Journal of Criminology, as much as 10 per cent of the legal market for aircraft parts are counterfeits and the presence of these parts on commercial aircraft is “more commonplace than many people realise.” Fake parts raise the risk of component failure, with potentially catastrophic consequences.

Photo by Portuguese Gravity on Unsplash

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