European plane maker calls on West to avoid sanctions on Russian titanium
Airbus, the world’s largest commercial plane maker, has called on the West to avoid sanctions on Russian Titanium, according to a media report.
This development comes amid a flurry of restrictions on the export of other Russian goods ranging from vodka to steel.
Titanium has so far been kept off the EU and US 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 to Russia.
However, the European plane maker is still importing hefty amounts of titanium from Russia. It has publicly called for the European Union to hold off imposing sanctions on the metal, which is used to manufacture critical components of its aircraft including landing gear and fasteners to the pylons that connect an engine to a wing, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Airbus Chief Executive 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,” he said while addressing the media in Doha, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Media reports say that Airbus is not the only Western company still buying titanium but is among the biggest Western aerospace firms still doing so.
Airbus’s reliance on Russia exposes it to the risk of new sanctions imposed by either Europe or the US, or export restrictions from Russia. It is also subject to reputational risk amid rising public pressure on companies to withdraw financial support for the Russian economy.
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 per cent of it comes from the latter, according to the US Geological Survey.
The US, along with the G7 nations and European Union (EU) has imposed severe and immediate economic costs on Russia for its “atrocities in Ukraine, including in Bucha”.
As per an official statement from the White House, as a part of mechanisms to hold Russia accountable for its actions in Ukraine, the US has announced economic measures to ban new investment in Russia and imposed severe financial sanctions on Russia’s largest bank and several of its most critical state-owned enterprises and on Russian government officials as wells as their family members.