Why Titanium Makes Russia A Key Country For Airbus

Titanium is a vital element in regard to the production of planes across the globe. It can be…

Why Titanium Makes Russia A Key Country For Airbus

Titanium is a vital element in regard to the production of planes across the globe. It can be found all across different parts of an airliner. With this in mind, Airbus has to ensure that it has the right supply of this metal for its operations.

Airbus founded its first engineering facility outside of its home nations in Russia. Photo: Sumit Singh | Simple Flying

A long-term relationship

Airbus’ footprint in Russia traces back to three decades ago. Notably, Aeroflot took on its first A310 in the early 1990s, allowing for the plane to become the first aircraft built in the west to attain Russian-type certification. Presently, the manufacturer’s A350, A330, and A320 family jets combine to make up 340 aircraft across Russian fleets.

During a presentation at the MAKS-2021 airshow in Moscow last week, Airbus EVP, Head of Region & Sales Europe Wouter Van Wersch, noted that half of the titanium in his company’s aircraft comes from Russia. The country is one of the world’s largest titanium producers, with up to over 40,000 metric tons of titanium sponge produced each year.

Headquartered in Verkhnyaya Salda, Russia, VSMPO-Avisma is the world’s largest titanium producer, tracing its roots back to nearly nine decades ago. Airbus first signed an agreement with this firm in the 1990s, and the partnership has grown each year. Initially, the deal involved the purchasing of raw materials. However, the contract now sees the company hand over semi-finished metal products with added value.

Titanium A380
Airbus projects conducted by VSMPO-Avisma included the machining of chassis beams for the A380. Photo: Rostec

A reliable metal

Titanium alloys have a distinct high strength to weight ratio. Therefore, they are usually utilized in key structures such as landing gear and airframes.

“In aviation engines, heat-resistant titanium alloys are used for manufacturing blades, disks, and other parts for fans and low-stage engine compressors,” Russian aviation conglomerate Rostec states.

“While the extensive use of composites in airplane engineering may be viewed as a threat to other materials, for titanium, it is a definite advantage that serves to promote its use in the industry.”

VSMPO-Avisma supplies over 300 businesses in 50 nations around the world. Photo: Rostec

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A titanium powerhouse

VSMPO-Avisma supplies titanium forgings for aircraft in all of Airbus’ families. This factor highlights how crucial the relationship is for the planemaker.

Importantly, it’s not only Airbus that relies heavily on this Russian titanium production operation. VSMPO-Avisma supplies have covered much of Boeing’s and up to all of Embraer’s titanium needs for their aircraft. Even the likes of Rolls-Royce, Pratt & Whitney, and Safran also rely on this scene.

The connections run deep throughout the supply chain. Amid the successful relationships built over the years, the Airbus Engineering Centre, more commonly known as ECAR, was set up in Moscow in 2003. This project was part of a joint venture between the aircraft manufacturer and the Kaskol industrial group. Altogether, the facility has completed over 120 projects, including work on the A330neo, A350-1000, and A321XLR and A330neo programs.

Airbus undoubtedly has a strong presence in Russia, and the impact goes both ways. The manufacturer’s aircraft continue to be spotted in the country, while many of its crucial materials continue to be sourced from there.

What are your thoughts about Airbus’ sourcing of titanium? What do you make of the company’s overall supply chain? Let us know what you think of the operations in the comment section.

Source : Simple Flying More   

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Startup Avelo Airlines Adds 4 New Routes From Los Angeles

Burbank Airport-based Avelo Airlines is launching four new routes from the airport this fall. Over September and October,…

Startup Avelo Airlines Adds 4 New Routes From Los Angeles

Burbank Airport-based Avelo Airlines is launching four new routes from the airport this fall. Over September and October, Avelo will begin nonstop flights to Monterey, CA, Fort Collins-Loveland, CO, and Provo and St. George, UT. The new flights will see Avelo flying to 12 destinations from Burbank over the coming months.

Avelo is adding four new airports to its schedules in September and October. Photo: Getty Images

New Avelo flights to Utah, Colorado, and Monterey

Beginning September 17, Avelo Airlines will fly between Burbank (BUR) and Provo (PVU) on Mondays and Fridays. On September 30, flights between Burbank and Monterey (MRY) will start, operating on Thursdays and Sundays. Flights to Fort Collins-Loveland (FNL) begin on October 6. Avelo will fly to FNL on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Finally, St George (SGU) will see flights on Thursdays and Sundays from October 7.

 “These new routes will provide our LA Customers with unmatched affordability and direct access to four beautiful unserved destinations across the Western US,” said Avelo Chairman and CEO Andrew Levy.

Avelo Airlines flies a fleet of Boeing 737s. Photo: Getty Images

Avelo is one of the highest-profile airline startups this year. Ditching LAX in favor of Burbank, Avelo’s off-piste choice of hub airport has grabbed plenty of attention. Since late April, Avelo’s small fleet of Boeing 737 aircraft have steadily built up the number of destinations served.

It hasn’t all gone without a hitch. Recently, Avelo said it would soon end flights to Grand Junction, CO, and Bozeman, MT. Attributing the decision to “customer insights” (or, in simple speak, a lack of demand), Avelo said running an airline successfully depended on flying to where customers want to go.

Avelo is betting their new destinations prove more popular than their flights to Grand Junction and Bozeman.

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A clever Avelo strategy

Avelo’s strategy of targeting regional airports and unserved city pairs is also a clever way of snatching market share from more popular routes that track close to Avelo’s route.

Fort Collins-Loveland Airport is only a 20-minute drive from Loveland’s ski resorts. Vail, Copper Mountain, Winter Park and Eldora Mountain are a little further afield, but Avelo says it is quicker to access those resorts from Los Angeles by flying BUR-FNL than the more traditional LAX-DEN option. Avelo also says moving through their smaller airports is a faster and less stressful experience than passing through big airports like Los Angeles International and Denver.

“Avelo has shown a commitment to partner with smaller, more convenient airports,” says Fort Collins-Loveland Airport Director Jason Licon.

Not lavish, but Avelo’s 737s provide inexpensive and convenient flights. Photo: Getty Images

Provo Airport is a 45-minute drive to downtown Salt Lake City and sold as an alternative to Salt Lake International Airport (SLC). Provo Airport is also only a 60-minute drive from the Utah ski fields.

As airlines fight for market share in the United States, Avelo is moving into the ultra-low-cost carrier space. It is the same space Frontier Airlines and Spirit Airlines occupies and a tier below the low-cost Southwest Airlines.

Aside from using low fares to drive demand, airlines like Avelo that focus on underserved city pairs have scope to grow in big markets like the United States. Aside from cost factors, flying a multi-city route to get from A to B takes time. An airline like Avelo that focuses on unserved city pairs that cuts out the need to connect can carve out a small but profitable market niche. And all those market niches add up.

Source : Simple Flying More   

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