Boeing has halted titanium purchases from Russia while rival Airbus continues to source from the country, highlighting the uncertain path for aerospace manufacturers following the invasion of Ukraine.
Boeing said it doesn’t anticipate a major disruption to aircraft output in the near term, after an initiative in recent years to diversify its metal sourcing arrangements. The decision to stop purchases comes after the U.S. planemaker said last week that it would suspend major operations in Moscow.
“Our inventory and diversity of titanium sources provide sufficient supply for airplane production, and we will continue to take the right steps to ensure long-term continuity,” Boeing said Monday in an emailed statement.
Aerospace companies have been bracing for the fallout on titanium supplies from Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in part because of financial sanctions that make payments to Russian firms difficult. Russia’s VSMPO-Avisma Corp. supplies nearly a quarter of global titanium, and Boeing announced a new deal with the company in November.
Boeing, which has been stockpiling the metal in recent months, gets about a third of its titanium from Russia, the Wall Street Journal reported earlier. The company’s chief executive officer, Dave Calhoun, said during the company’s January earnings call that Boeing is “protected for quite a while, but not forever.”
Airbus, which has also suspended operations in Moscow and stopped providing parts and maintenance to Russian customers, said it is sourcing titanium from Russia and other countries. The purchases are made in accordance with all sanctions and applicable export control regulations, the European firm said via email.
Besides Boeing, aerospace firms including Safran and Dassault Aviation are looking for alternative supplies of titanium, which is used in airplane parts from engines to fasteners.
“It’s a big concern for us,” Dassault CEO Eric Trappier told reporters at an earnings press conference last week, but without providing details on available inventories of the metal. “We are trying to find alternatives, which exist, to cope with this new situation.”