FAA is investigating suspected titanium parts used in some Boeing and Airbus jets

Federal transportation officials are investigating how titanium sold with false documentation ended up in parts used to make Boeing and Airbus planes.

The Federal Aviation Administration and Spirit AeroSystems, a supplier of fuselages for Boeing and wings for Airbus, said Friday they were each investigating the scope and impact of the problem, which could raise possible aircraft safety concerns. First reported by the New York TimesThe problem came to light after a parts supplier discovered small holes caused by corrosion in the titanium Unpleasant the newspaper.

“Boeing has reported a voluntary disclosure to the FAA regarding equipment purchases through a distributor that may have provided falsified or inaccurate data,” the agency said in a statement. “Boeing has issued a bulletin outlining how suppliers should remain alert to the possibility of falsified data.”

Spirit said it is working to determine the origin of the titanium and has removed the affected parts from the company's production line for testing.

“This is about titanium that entered the delivery system through counterfeit documents,” Spirit spokesman Joe Buccino said in a statement. “When this was identified, all suspect parts were quarantined and removed from Spirit production. More than 1,000 tests were conducted to confirm the mechanical and metallurgical properties of the affected material to ensure its continued airworthiness.”

Aircraft with parts containing the suspect material were made between 2019 and 2023 and include some Boeing 737 Max and 787 Dreamliner planes, as well as Airbus A220 jets, according to the Times, which cited three people familiar with the matter. An employee of a Chinese company that sold the titanium had falsified information on documents certifying the material's origins, and where it came from remains murky, according to the Times' sources.


FAA provides update on Boeing's plans to resolve safety and quality issues

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Boeing said tests of the materials in question had not shown any evidence of a problem. According to the aircraft manufacturer, the problem affects a small number of parts of Boeing aircraft. Boeing says it buys most of the titanium it uses in aircraft production directly, and that supply will not be affected.

“This industry-wide issue is impacting some titanium shipments received by a limited number of suppliers, and testing conducted to date has shown that the correct titanium alloy was used. To ensure compliance, we remove all affected parts from aircraft prior to delivery. Our analysis shows that the fleet in use can continue to fly safely.”

Airbus said it was aware of the problem and that numerous tests had been carried out on parts from the same supplier. “They demonstrate that the airworthiness of the A220 remains intact,” a company spokesperson said in a statement. “The safety and quality of our aircraft are our top priorities and we work closely with our supplier.”

The development comes after a long series safety issues for the aviation industry this year incl an alarming incident during the flight in January in which a door panel blew off an Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 Max 9 jetliner.

Boeing also informed the FAA in April of another incident involving possibly falsified inspection data related to the wings of 787 Dreamliner planes, and says it should re-inspect some planes still in production.

— Kathryn Krupnik and Kevin McCarron of CBS News contributed to this report.

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