FAA Investigates Use of Potentially Falsified Titanium in Boeing and Airbus Jets

Featured & Cover FAA Investigates Use of Potentially Falsified Titanium in Boeing and Airbus Jets

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is probing the use of titanium with potentially forged records in commercial jets by Airbus SE and Boeing Co., originating from a lesser-known Chinese supplier, as reported by Bloomberg.

Spirit AeroSystems Holdings Inc. confirmed that the questionable material entered their parts through counterfeit documents. Joe Buccino, a spokesperson for Spirit, stated, “When this was identified, all suspect parts were quarantined and removed from Spirit production.” He added, “More than 1,000 tests have been completed to confirm the mechanical and metallurgical properties of the affected material to ensure continued airworthiness.”

This issue reflects a recurring problem in the aviation industry concerning unauthorized parts infiltrating the supply chain. Last year, a scandal emerged involving a UK company that distributed fake aircraft parts with forged documentation worldwide, Bloomberg reported.

According to The New York Times, the problematic titanium was incorporated into Boeing’s 737 Max and 787 Dreamliner jets and the Airbus A220 model produced between 2019 and 2023. The issue stemmed from a batch of metal from a Chinese producer, with certificates appearing falsified upon inspection, Bloomberg quoted.

The FAA disclosed that Boeing voluntarily reported procuring material through a distributor that might have supplied falsified or incorrect records. The FAA is “investigating the scope and impact of the issue,” according to Bloomberg.

Simultaneously, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) is investigating the titanium traceability issue after being notified by its Italian counterpart. EASA currently finds no safety risk but will continue investigating the root cause of the documentation issues, the report noted.

“EASA will investigate further the root cause of the document traceability issue and continue to closely monitor any new developments that could lead to a potentially unsafe condition in the fleet,” stated EASA spokesperson Janet Northcote, as quoted by Bloomberg.

Boeing has assured that affected parts will be removed from aircraft before delivery and that the in-service fleet remains safe. The company remarked, “This industry-wide issue affects some shipments of titanium received by a limited set of suppliers, and tests performed to date have indicated that the correct titanium alloy was used.”

An Airbus spokesperson acknowledged the situation, emphasizing that numerous tests confirmed the A220’s airworthiness remains intact.

The aviation industry depends on verified provenance to ensure the safety and structural integrity of every component. The suspect titanium was provided by an unnamed Chinese company, allegedly using forged documentation to falsely appear as originating from Baoji Titanium Industry, a reputable Chinese supplier.

The Aviation Supply Chain Integrity Coalition, which includes representatives from Boeing and Airbus, is working to prevent unauthorized parts from entering the supply chain. John Porcari, the coalition’s co-chair, mentioned at a Washington conference that they had finished the research phase for a forthcoming report this fall, which will recommend solutions to this issue.

A coalition spokesperson indicated that while the initial focus is on the propulsion supply chain, the recommendations could be applied broadly across the aviation industry.

Overall, this investigation underscores the critical importance of ensuring the integrity of materials used in the aerospace sector. The proactive measures by Boeing and Airbus to identify and quarantine suspect parts, as well as the coordinated efforts of international aviation safety agencies, reflect a concerted effort to maintain safety and trust in the aviation supply chain.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More Related Stories