Stolen and counterfeit spares is still one of the major issues in the aviation industry

Mar 19th, 2012

In the last couple of decades, despite several global economic shake-ups, aviation industry have been rapidly expanding to meet the demand determined by the increasing number of passengers and global business trends all over the world. As a result, airlines have been rapidly expanding and renewing their fleets that require constant care, maintenance and support. Unfortunately, the process has not remained unnoticed by dishonest parties who have embraced the increased demand for aircraft components as yet another means to fraudulent gains.

According to Locatory.com, at this juncture the number of stolen and counterfeit aviation spares in the market is alarming and does not show any signs of declining any time soon unless some radical changes in the industry’s policies and spare parts procurement procedures are made.

‘Attempts to line one’s pockets from stolen aircraft parts and components have become pretty common. Last February one man in Pennsylvania was arrested on suspicion of stealing spares worth around $420000. Another man also in the USA was recently sentenced to 18 months in prison for stolen parts he had managed to sell in the black market. According to court documents, a man had attempted to sell stolen aircraft parts worth $45000 on eBay, with the asking price of just $9000,’ said the CEO of Locatory.com Zilvinas Sadauskas.

Attempts to line one’s pockets from stolen aircraft parts and components have become pretty common

According to the Russian Ministry of Transportation, in 2010 14500 out of all 60000 spares in the Russian aviation market were counterfeit.

‘The black market of stolen and counterfeit parts poses a real threat to aviation safety. It is very hard to vouch for the quality of both. The former are manufactured without following any quality standards or reliability requirements while the latter are often sold with falsified documentation and fake serial numbers making it very hard to determine the exact state and wear intensity. Using a counterfeit or a stolen part in a car can have serious consequences; however, not as serious as using a falsified component in an aircraft that is set to carry 200 people. Aircraft are made using thousands of parts and these parts often comprise many tiny components. Anyone involved in the black market of aviation spares can be responsible for hundreds of deaths caused by a tiny component worth no more than several tens of dollars,’ explained the CEO of Locatory.com Zilvinas Sadauskas.

No one would argue against the fact that safety is the primary concern in aviation. However, monitoring the authenticity of spares can be difficult, especially during such processes as aircraft engine maintenance that is usually outsourced to MROs, often abroad.

Aviation authorities all over the world are actively looking for possible solutions to minimize the possibilities to produce and distribute counterfeit or stolen aircraft parts and components. While several companies are trying to develop highly sophisticated chips that would be practically impossible to falsify or even produce, some manufacturers choose to conceal certain details according to which they can check the authenticity of their parts in the market. All these attempts are truly plausible, but the current statistics regarding the fraudulent activities to do with counterfeit or stolen spares speaks for itself.

‘In order to minimize the risk of purchasing a stolen or a counterfeit part, one should consider the use of specialized online platforms, such as Locatory.com. The platform welcomes only the sellers with the best reputation and the necessary industry approvals, so the chances to purchase a falsified product practically equals to a zero,’ said Z.Sadauskas.

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