The family name on the signature approving the sale of a complex jet engine part might perhaps have rung alarm bells: Chirac.

It accompanied the sale of a key component called a low-pressure turbine blade by a British distributor to a Florida firm in 2019 and aimed to show that the part, designed for the world's most widely used jet engine, the CFM56, was authentic.

Four years later, engine maker CFM International, which supplies Airbus and Boeing, has embarked on a worldwide hunt for thousands of parts with suspected false documentation from the same vendor — some of which have remained undetected for years.