One of the world’s largest commercial plane makers Airbus has called for the European Union to hold off imposing sanctions on titanium, which is used to manufacture critical components of its aircraft, from landing gear and fasteners to the pylons that connect an engine to a wing. Airbus Chief Executive Mr Guillaume Faury said “We think sanctioning titanium from Russia would be sanctioning ourselves. Russian titanium sales are one of the few areas of business where it is in the interest of no party to disrupt the current situation,”Titanium has so far been kept off the EU and U.S. sanction lists, but many buyers have reduced their exposure to Russian sources and have found alternative suppliers for a number of reasons, including the difficulty of making payments into Russia.About 65% of Airbus’s titanium supply comes from Russia. Airbus gets its Russia-sourced titanium from VSMPO-Avisma. VSMPO is part-owned by Russian defense firm Rostec, which manufactures arms for the Russian military. The company is headed by sanctioned oligarch Mr Sergey Chemezov, identified as one of President Vladimir Putin’s known close associates. Rostec is subject to some sanctions, too, but VSMPO sales of titanium aren’t.Boeing, which before the war purchased about one third of its titanium from Russia, said at the onset of the invasion of Ukraine that it would suspend its titanium joint venture in Russia and halt purchases of titaniumRaytheon Technologies, which owns engine maker Pratt & Whitney, has halted its USD 50 million annual spending on Russian titanium and said that would lead to some delivery delays this year.General Electric’s aviation business had already turned to other supplies after Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, reducing its exposure to Russian titanium to two parts or about 1% of its total titanium use.Titanium has become an increasingly important material in aircraft production because of its high strength-to-weight ratio and resilience against corrosion. While it is mined the world over, production of titanium sponge, the unfinished raw material, is centered in key areas such as Japan, China and Russia. About 13% of it comes from Russia. The market for titanium is relatively small compared with other metallurgical goods. Russia’s titanium exports amounted to USD 415 million in 2020.