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2 Virgin 737-800s grounded after suspect engine parts found

written by Jake Nelson | September 19, 2023

Craig Murray shot this Virgin 737, VH-VUQ.

Two Virgin Australia 737s have been grounded due to concerns over suspected unapproved parts.

VH-VUT and VH-YFR were found to have parts from UK-based supplier AOG Technics with falsified certification documents, which rendered the components unusable. The 737-800s (similar aircraft pictured) were pulled from service and sent in for maintenance to replace the parts.

VH-VUT had a low-pressure turbine blade replaced and was returned to service, while VH-YFR is undergoing maintenance in Brisbane to replace a seal on an inner high-pressure turbine nozzle and is expected to be back in service this week.

“At Virgin Australia, safety is our highest priority and we apply a highly stringent approach to maintenance to ensure our safety standard is upheld,” a spokesperson for the airline said.

The parts are not believed to be “fake” or “bogus”; however, they cannot be used due to the falsified documents.


AOG Technics is the subject of a lawsuit in the UK over the false-certifications scandal, with engine manufacturer CFM International claiming 68 of its CFM56 engines were fitted with falsely certified components that were allegedly listed as new instead of used. The CFM56 is used on the 737 NG family as well as older Airbus A320 aircraft. As reported in The Sydney Morning Herald, 737-800s used by Qantas and Rex, as well as Qantas Airbus A320s and A321s, have been confirmed to be unaffected.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) issued a notice saying many of the Authorised Release Certificates (ARCs) from AOG Technics were false.

“Occurrence reports have been submitted to the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) indicating that several CFM56 engine parts distributed by AOG Technics have been supplied with a falsified Authorised Release Certificate (ARC),” the agency said.

“In each confirmed example, the approved organisation, identified on the ARC, has attested that the form did not originate from within their organisation, and the certificate has been falsified.

“To date, AOG Technics has not provided information on the source of the parts, or of the falsified ARCs. EASA is therefore issuing this alert to determine whether other parts with falsified ARCs have been supplied, and to limit the airworthiness impact of any potentially unairworthy parts operating in service.”

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