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Investigation Reveals Counterfeit Titanium Endangers Safety of Boeing and Airbus Planes – Executive Summary

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Titanium components have been discovered in Boeing and Airbus aircraft that were manufactured based on forged documents, raising serious concerns about the structural integrity of these aircraft.

The information was published by a supplier to aircraft manufacturers and is being investigated by Spirit AeroSystems, the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the European Union Aviation Safety Agency, the New York Times revealed.

Spirit AeroSystems, which supplies wings to Boeing and Airbus, identified small holes in the material due to corrosion. The issue, which arose from Turkish material supplier Turkish Aerospace Industries, dates back to 2019, when it purchased a batch of titanium from a supplier in China, which had passed through several companies before being used to make aerospace parts.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is investigating the extent of the problem and its safety impacts. Boeing said in a statement that it voluntarily reported the purchase of materials through a distributor who may have falsified records.

At this time, it is not known how many planes contain parts made from questionable materials, but they include the Boeing 737 MAX, 787 Dreamliner and Airbus A220 models manufactured between 2019 and 2023. Spirit works to determine the origin of the titanium and whether it meets safety standards, in addition to assessing the necessity of removing and replacing damaged parts.

This situation worsens the already weak reputation of Boeing, which faces a series of safety investigations following several recent accidents.

Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun is expected to testify before a Senate committee about the company's safety issues. The information also affects Airbus, which said the airworthiness of the A220 remains intact but is continuing to conduct rigorous testing.

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The forged documents are known as certificates of conformity, and are necessary to ensure the traceability and quality of the titanium used in manufacturing. The origin of the material is still unclear, with suspicions of forging documents by an employee of the Chinese company that sold the titanium, according to the same source.

Spirit tests components to ensure compliance with aviation standards and works with customers to identify and monitor affected aircraft, which can be removed from service sooner if necessary.

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