Airbus is securing its long-term supply of titanium following the signing of major contracts with metal producers. 

The company has signed a 10-year deal with RTI International Metals that will generate revenues of more than $800 million for the US-based company. According to The Wall Street Journal, Airbus has also signed 10-year contracts with Russia’s VSMPO-Avisma for the supply of titanium and with Kazakhstan’s Ust-Kamenogorsk Titanium-Magnesium Plant for the supply of titanium ore which RTI will process, taking the total value of the contracts the manufacturer has agreed to $1.4 billion.

RTI confirms that it has entered into a 10-year contract with Airbus that will generate revenues of around $800 million. Shipments will begin at the end of the year, and exceed 2.3 million kilograms (five million pounds) per year by 2008. The producer is beginning a $35 million facilities expansion programme in response to the contract.

“The long-term agreement is a key part of Airbus’ strategy of partnering in innovative ways with strong companies to ensure the best materials and components for our aircraft,” says Henri Courpron, Airbus’ executive vice-president procurement.

Titanium prices have rocketed in recent years, thanks to rising demand from growth economies like China. The use of titanium in aerospace manufacturing has also risen as the need for increased fuel efficiency drives manufacturers to seek weight savings.

The move from the Toulouse manufacturer follows similar hedges on titanium brokered by Boeing and other airframers in recent months.

Source: Flight International