Titanium sanctions and Airbus refusal: how Russia is losing giant buyers of its products


Titanium sanctions and Airbus denial: how Russia is losing giant buyers of its products

One of the world's largest civil aircraft manufacturers, the European company Airbus, has decided to stop deliveries of Russian titanium over the next few months. Airbus wants to restructure logistics to supply from the US and Japan. The information was confirmed by Airbus Defense&Space director Michael Schellhorn.

PublicistYury Marynyak on the IQ platformanalyzed how leading European companies fought against the introduction of sectoral sanctions to the last, and then quickly found a replacement for Russian titanium.

According to the director of Airbus, the refusal of Russian titanium supplies can last for months, but not years.

I can't give you an exact date because it's a complicated certification process and some other details take time, but it will definitely happen,” Schellhorn told reporters.

Pay attention!Russia, namely PJSC VSMPO-AVISMA, one of the largest titanium producers in the world, has been a key partner of the European company for many years. Airbus representatives even asked the EU not to impose sanctions on the supply of titanium from Russia, since this would hit the European aerospace industry more than Russia and its income. because for Russia it is a small business. Those against whom we will impose sanctions are ourselves,” Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury said at the time.

How Russia makes money on titanium

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  • According to Trade Data Monitor, titanium is a relatively small source of income for the Russian economy:In 2020, exports amounted to $415 million compared to $16 billion for iron and steel.
  • PJSC VSMPO-AVISMA is a subsidiary of Rostec, the state-owned association that owns the majority of Russian defense companies.
  • In the period from 2000 to 2010, titanium exports from Russia tripled, while manufacturing companies in the US struggled to keep up with cheap imports. But in 2021, the last titanium plant in North America closed after many years of struggle.
  • In 2014, PJSC VSMPO-AVISMA provided 40% of titanium to Boeing, 60% to Airbus and 100% to Bombardier , Embrayer, Pratt&Whitney, Rolls Royce..
  • The annexation of Crimea changed little. While promises have been made to reduce the West's dependence on Russian supplies, real progress has been slow. And the reason here is in the specifics of production and the characteristics of titanium. – the author remarks.

    There is someone to replace it

    According to the US Geological Survey (USGS), China is the world's largest producer of titanium sponge, accounting for 57% of global production.

    USGS data show that Japan comes next with almost 17%, followed by Russia with almost 13% of the market.

    Although Russia is the third largest producer of titanium in the world, when it comes to aerospace grade titanium, it was its largest supplier, producing half of the world's consumption. Accordingly, such dominance gave not economic, but geopolitical influence, which Russia was very proud of.

    But Russia is already losing the second main buyer of its titanium products. In the spring, the American Boeing Corporation refused to supply titanium . Other leading aircraft manufacturing concerns of the planet – Rolls-Royce and Safran Aircraft Engines – are also on this path.

    Sanctions are in effect. Russia is confidently moving along the path of technological degradation and loss of sales markets.

    By the way, the Crimean Titan plant produces titanium products. The media wrote that the enterprise was operating despite the occupation. In 2018, the plant released hazardous substances into the atmosphere. According to the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, this happened as a result of training by the Russian military, who fired near the sedimentation tanks for waste from the chemical production of titanium and soda plants, they were hit several times.

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