Boeing and Airbus take opposite stances on Russian titanium

One stops buying, while the other sticks to its largest supplier

US planemaker Boeing has suspended titanium purchases from Russia, the company said on Monday, adding that it has substantial inventory of the metal and other sources to acquire it from.

We have suspended purchasing titanium from Russia. Our inventory and diversity of titanium sources provide sufficient supply for airplane production,” Boeing said in an emailed statement, as cited by Reuters. Titanium is widely used in the aerospace, marine, and auto industries, prized for its strength in relation to its weight. In the aerospace industry, it is largely used to make landing gear, blades, and turbine discs.

Russian producer VSMPO-AVISMA is Boeing’s largest titanium supplier. The company expressed regret over Boeing’s decision to scrap the contracts, which were renewed just four months ago at the Dubai Airshow.

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We sincerely regret that the contracts with our long-term partner are suspended. We are now reorienting our sales policy to other markets,” VSMPO-AVISMA Chief Executive Dmitry Osipov said in an emailed statement. He noted, however, that the company had been preparing for this type of situation for the past several months.

VSMPO-AVISMA also sells titanium to Boeing’s European rival, Airbus. The planemaker said it would continue to buy titanium from Russia in a statement on Monday. Airbus noted that Russia covers half of its overall titanium needs.

Following the launch of Moscow’s military operation in Ukraine, a number of Western states placed sanctions on Russia, targeting, among other things, its aerospace and defense industry. But the penalties have not targeted VSMPO-AVISMA yet, despite the fact that 25% of the company belongs to state defense giant Rostec.

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