FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Aramid Technologies, Inc. Gilbert, Arizona
From Scandal to Solution: Existing Tools That Could Have Stopped the AOG Technics Counterfeit Spare Parts Fraud
GILBERT, Arizona – September 29, 2023 – Aramid Technologies, the creator of SmartCert and a leader in aerospace quality assurance, provides a summary and insight related to the recent counterfeit aircraft parts scandal involving London-based AOG Technics.
The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) have confirmed that UK based AOG Technics distributed parts for one of the most widely used commercial aircraft engines, falsely certifying they were manufactured by Safran and General Electric. In July a maintenance shop flagged suspicious parts that looked like they had been previously used but were accompanied by Authorized Release Certificates (ARCs) indicating they were new. Authorities have now found 86 instances of parts sold with falsified documentation, impacting an estimated 100 planes. Last week, GE informed a UK court that AOG had sold thousands of bogus parts, suggesting the scandal may expand. Alarmingly, the true origin of these parts remains unknown. While they may fit the aircraft, they have not been certified to the required aerospace standards, posing potential safety risks.
Aircraft quality procedures are well proven and extensive. Certifications are so critical that industry veterans often say that they sell paperwork and include the parts for free. Perfectly good parts without proper certifications are worthless. And, the term paperwork really means paper, stacks of individual documents typically travel with parts in their boxes. Despite the extraordinary transformation of business to the cloud over the past decades, aircraft quality documentation remains nearly all paper based.
Successful con artists prey on emotions and thrive on stress. The well documented shortage of airline spare parts, combined with high pressure from airline customers trying to improve on-time performance, while constrained by an archaic paper-based system has put aircraft maintenance operations in a critical state, leaving them susceptible to fraud. It’s not surprising that something failed.
Quality professionals often refer to the Swiss cheese method of risk management, which entails using multiple levels of controls to reduce the probability that the holes in the cheese line up and a failure can pass through. The AOG Technics case demonstrates that there is only one level of protection against fraud in today’s system -the supplier validation process – which obviously failed. Although commercially viable technology exists to create a second layer of protection, by authenticating supplier certifications online, it is not used in today’s legacy paper-based systems.
The supplier validation process failed because sophisticated aircraft buyers did not conduct adequate diligence on AOG Technics. A cursory inquiry may have identified unverified photos of the founders on LinkedIn, corporate filings riddled with typographical errors, and multiple corporate addresses ranging from a retired accountant’s office to an upscale co-working space.
Regarding authentication of manufacturer quality certificates, a more effective option would be for manufacturers to make certifications available on a secure quality certification management platform like SmartCert, where downstream users can authenticate parts against the original certifications.
“We’ve set high standards in aerospace. So why do we treat critical documentation like an afterthought? It’s like building a state-of-the-art house without doors.” Stated Lyndon Lattie, CEO of SmartCert. “The meticulous care we invest in our parts must be mirrored in the documentation and authentication processes. Digital tools like SmartCert shield the industry against catastrophic fraud, measured in lives and costs.”
About Aramid Technologies:
Aramid Technologies introduced SmartCert in 2021 to digitize the cumbersome and costly traditional processes for exchanging quality certifications by paper, email, and portal. SmartCert is a cloud-based platform that enables buyers and sellers to receive, organize, and send required documentation quickly and securely.
Tel: (480) 780 3230