Counterfeit titanium parts in aircraft: FAA investigates safety risks

Department of Transportation (Photo: MBisanz).
Department of Transportation (Photo: MBisanz).

Counterfeit titanium parts in aircraft: FAA investigates safety risks

Department of Transportation (Photo: MBisanz).
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The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is facing a challenge: counterfeit titanium parts may be installed in Boeing and Airbus aircraft. This alarming discovery came to light after supplier Spirit AeroSystems reported irregularities. A Chinese company reportedly submitted fake documents to confirm the authenticity of a batch of titanium before it entered the aviation industry.

Spirit AeroSystems, a major supplier to Boeing and Airbus, discovered small corrosion holes in the material and immediately notified the FAA of the problem. The company stressed that all suspected parts were immediately quarantined and removed from production. Over 1.000 tests were conducted to verify the mechanical and metallurgical properties of the affected material and ensure airworthiness.

The FAA responded promptly and is now attempting to assess the potential impact on flight safety. Boeing voluntarily reported the purchase of material by a dealer who may have submitted falsified or false records. In a bulletin, Boeing urged its suppliers to pay increased attention to the possibility of falsified documents.

According to information from three sources, aircraft built between 2019 and 2023, including Boeing 737 MAX, 787 Dreamliner and Airbus A220, may contain affected components. Both Boeing and Airbus assured that they will remove all affected parts before delivery to ensure compliance with safety regulations. Both companies stress that the safety of the aircraft fleet in operation is not affected.

Airbus also confirmed that they have taken measures to ensure the safety of their aircraft, stressing the high priority of safety and quality. Tests with Spirit AeroSystems' Titan have so far shown that the quality is suitable for aircraft manufacturers.

The FAA's investigations and the responses from the affected aircraft manufacturers highlight the complexity and strict controls within the aviation industry. Passenger safety and aircraft integrity are always paramount, even when issues such as counterfeit materials pose a serious challenge.

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Editor of this article:

Amely Mizzi is Executive Assistant at Aviation Direct Malta in San Pawl il-Baħar. She previously worked in the Aircraft and Vessel Financing division at a banking group. She is considered a linguistic talent and speaks seven languages ​​fluently. She prefers to spend her free time in Austria on the ski slopes and in summer on Mediterranean beaches, practically on her doorstep in Gozo.
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Amely Mizzi is Executive Assistant at Aviation Direct Malta in San Pawl il-Baħar. She previously worked in the Aircraft and Vessel Financing division at a banking group. She is considered a linguistic talent and speaks seven languages ​​fluently. She prefers to spend her free time in Austria on the ski slopes and in summer on Mediterranean beaches, practically on her doorstep in Gozo.
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