HOTR: Putin can shut down commercial aviation, consultant warned

Feb. 24, 2022, © Leeham News: The invasion by Russia into Ukraine could shut down commercial aviation production, a supply chain consultant expert predicted earlier this month.

Kevin Michaels, managing director of AeroDynamic Advisory, a supply-chain consulting firm, warned at a supplier conference Feb. 8 that Russian President Vladimir Putin “could shut down the commercial aerospace business if he chose to do so.”

Russia is world’s biggest producer

“Why? Because a company named VSMPO is the world’s biggest titanium producer,” Michaels noted. “It’s hard to get accurate numbers. I dug some out of our archives when we last did this in 2010. At that time, VSMPO had a 35% share of aerospace titanium consumption. According to The Air Current, they provide 35% of Boeing’s titanium, 65% of Airbus, and 100% of Embraer. They’re not very big in engines, but they are supercritical and by the way, Boeing’s forgings in landing gear come in a joint venture with VSMPO in Russia. That makes the landing gear for the 787 and 777X.”

Michaels said that titanium is manufactured either from titanium scraps or a sponge. He said that the last US producer of sponges shut down during the COVID crisis.

“We now have no domestic titanium sponge supply,” Michaels said. Japan stepped into the breach, he said but the other sponge suppliers are China, Kazakhstan, and Russia.

Boeing previously said it was making advance purchases of titanium. Airbus told LNA today in an email that “geopolitical risks are integrated into our titanium sourcing policies. We are therefore protected in the short/medium term.

“The exposure is a mix of Airbus direct sourcing from Russian titanium supplier VSMPO as well as indirect sourcing (through our Tier 1 suppliers). We are closely monitoring the situation with our suppliers.”

No action yet

Michaels told LNA today that as far as he knows, neither Russia nor the US has placed any sanctions on titanium. Richard Aboulafia, also of AeroDynamic Advisory, told LNA that “Russia’s value-added economy is miserable. All they offer the world is raw materials. So, yes, they could damage civil aero but they’d be gravely damaging the only successful part of their economy.”


158 Comments on “HOTR: Putin can shut down commercial aviation, consultant warned

    • What’s the price of oil/aviation fuel today? Tomorrow? Next year?? The year after next???

      • The body politik seeks $150 oil as part of their insane zero carbon policy. Here we see, they are well on their way in achieving their ambitions.

      • -> “The U.S. neon supply, which is used for lithography processes for chip production, comes almost entirely from Ukraine and Russia, according to Techcet”


        Resourcing more chip manufacturing to U.S.?

    • -> Putin can shut down commercial aviation *manufacturing*

      I believe that’s only one the tools available in his arsenal … and it’s not even the biggest, wait.

    • Putin could deny overflights and then everyone (or just certain nation’s airlines) would have to go around Russia just like during the Cold War.

  1. “The first casualty of War is Truth”

    Saskatoon Star-Phoenix, Daily Starbeams, 1931.

    I think we need to get very careful with facts / opinions in times of war.

    The wars of the last 50 years & what we found out a few years later later confirms this.

  2. The specific mix of the parts is especially troubling for BA. They have a JV established with VSMPO focusing on Titanium Forgings. Those parts are hard to move as the forging dies needed to make them are specific to the hammers at the forge they were made for. Once they exhaust the pipeline, they would be very hard to place somewhere else. While BA would have a hard time working around it, the silver lining could be that it would be viewed as Force Majure, and buy them schedule time to make other fixes not connected to Titanium.

    • No wonder TC openly question BA’s delivery of their 787s and 777X on schedule.

      No problem, there’s a plan B called A380.

      • on each Boeing 787-9, there is over 19 tons of titanium. 

        Russian VSMPO-AVISMA is the biggest supplier of titanium and titanium parts for all Boeing aircraft programs.

        • If they do shut down production / shipments of titanium, Boeing isn’t the only company that will suffer – did you miss the graphic on mfg. dependency on this supplier in the article? Airbus and Embraer could be hit even worse. And, it sounds like Boeing has placed advanced orders to covering their short term / medium term needs.

          • Easier to get around RM supply issue. How about your sole supplier of critical parts? Over last couple of years, there’s a war against small entrepreneurs thanks to destruction of the supply chain built up over decades as those at the top dreamed of decoupling.

            You reap what you sow.

            John Mearsheimer

          • Last year, BA “paused” production of 787 after delivery was halted, not AB.

            Tells you who has the upper hand when U.S. imposed restrictions on VSMPO-AVISMA in December 2020 only to back down quickly weeks later.

          • -> Last year, BA “paused” production of 787 after delivery was halted, not AB.

            No wonder BA consumes a lot less titanium.

        • From this very blog post.
          “I dug some out of our archives when we last did this in 2010. At that time, VSMPO had a 35% share of aerospace titanium consumption. According to The Air Current, they provide 35% of Boeing’s titanium, 65% of Airbus, and 100% of Embraer.”

          So, apparently they are the biggest supplier of titanium for all Airbus programs too.

          • As shown in chip crisis, you can’t ship FG even if you miss only one part: => 787/777X.

            Also BA builds derivatives of 60s design. You have to dig deeper, not to rely on being spoon-fed.

          • Did The Air Current do the ground work and pull real data or just repeat hearsay??

          • Pedro,
            “Also BA builds derivatives of 60s design. You have to dig deeper, not to rely on being spoon-fed.”

            How do you like the taste of that spoon?

  3. “The west” would want to tread carefully in this situation. Russia and China have become major buddies, and will probably support each other in the same way that the US, EU, Canada, Australia and Japan (for example) coordinate their responses. China is the main supplier of rare earth metals in the world, and it’s the number one producer of steel (6 of the top 10 steels producers in the world are in China). The two countries can, if desired, inflict considerable pain on world industry.

    It should be noted that, in the past 50 years, other countries have also been invaded by “western” powers — including invasions for the sole purpose of toppling a regime — so we’re not exactly squeaky clean ourselves. It would be good to reflect upon that before over-reacting and shooting ourselves in the foot.

    • I think given this act by Russia they will likely not be a reliable partner for a very long time. I would hope and think China realizes a similar route will cost them their economy. There may be short term pain but after COVID there is a will and understanding not to be beholden to single countries. I am still hopeful that China itself is in shock over what Russia is doing and is looking for a diplomatic way to distance itself and or see how the world reacts.

      • -I suspect that China will merely be emboldened in its plans to invade Taiwan as the CPC watches the helpless western reaction and helpless dependency on their goods and trade. We’ll then be here discussing the impacts on aviation and rare earth metals.
        -The strategic situation is different of course. Taiwan is politically stable and has a sea protecting it whereas the Ukraine was land locked, impossible to support and had not yet had time to stabilise (with destabilising agents from both sides)

  4. “Airbus and propulsion specialist Safran are aiming to take over the metallurgical and materials firm Aubert & Duval, as part of a strategy to secure critical aerospace supplies for future development.
    The partnership intends to acquire the entirety of the company from its owner, mining company Eramet.
    Aubert & Duval produces alloys, forgings and additive-manufacturing powders for the aerospace industry, and is already a key supplier to Airbus”

    • Thanks for that link- looks like another smart move from

      I douby Mr. Putin has an interest in shutting down commercial aviation or its manufacturing; but like
      they say, “one of the first casualties of War is truth.”

  5. What, How can this be the case? Scott mentioned that our long national nightmare was over when Biden was inaugurated. This titanium shutdown possibility is just smoke and mirrors. Everything’s rosy.

  6. Russians are highly educated in technical subjects, if only Putin had invested all the money he has looted in the aviation industry.
    If he is crazy /desperate enough to do this there are no limits, the Russian economy will collapse as a result and he will behave like a cornered animal.

    • Only can see possibles where this goes.

      We saw the same thing when Bush II went off the rails and congress did nothing (more aided and abeded) as well as Jan 6.

    • > If he is crazy /desperate enough to do this there are no limits, the Russian economy will collapse as a result and he will behave like a cornered animal. <

      I don't see Mr. Putin (or his FM, Mr. Lavrov) as crazy, or desperate.

      • I liked Putins pigs reference. He deserves no Mr.

        He has gone off the rails, numerous reports of mental insatiability .

        • > numerous reports of mental insatiability. <

          You're too good, man- my hat is off to you.


          • Bill7:

            Danke, my father, Uncle, one close friend and numerous others I knew volunteered in WWII to fight another nut job.

  7. I wanted to mention. Back in the early 1960’s with the design of the Lockheed SR-71 the US didn’t have a source of titanium required to build this amazing jet, so the CIA set up a front company in Europe to obtain the source from the Soviets. Maybe we need to go back to that scenario?

  8. On a tech note, in the interest of Mineral Security (you just have to love the buzz phrase of the moment) perhaps we should go back to all aluminum?

    It will be interesting to see how soon the Titanium Sponge mines get opened again.

    • Titanium is one of the most common materials on earth in the form of white titanium oxide. Mining the desired stuff, then comes the energy intensive processes including remelt and filtering often a VIM, VAR trippel remelt process and get the correct alloy in the right cristalline structure. Composite aircrafts needs more than the old aluminum aircraft designs. So maybe we have to settle with A330neo’s & 777-9’s instead of A350/787’s for some years.

      • Titanium may be one of the most common materials, but the supply is concentrated to many of the “wrong” people. This is the issue.

        • Scott:

          More accurately for us to become depended on the wrong people.

          Its what happens when business decisions trump national good and appeasement reins supreme.

        • -If the geologists are tasked they will find viable concentrations. Titanium I believe is the 4th most common mineral in the earths crust.
          -These ores may be competitive with the Russian ones or say Australian mineral sands or they may not quite be. Lower ore concentrations require more earth to be moved, more crushing, grinding and a larger concentrator plant and therefore more energy. Price support may be needed for mining and concentration or some kind of support for the hunt for the ores. I’d say the deposits are already found and the ores are only slightly more expensive to process. They may be profitable already but investors fear price drops that will put their plant into care and maintenance.

          • 4th most common?
            That actually comes to 0.6% , and it’s 4th most common structural metal not ‘element’.
            Behind iron, aluminium and magnesium metals

            So no cigar.

          • Not only commercial airlines use it but military aircrafts and engines also use the different Ti alloys (both precision castings and forgings), hence the west should have facilities to produce it in quantities required if they boost up investments. Russia seems to have been able to have Ti ore, process facilities and energy available to produce the alloy per spec in volumes to competitive prices. You had a Ti crisis in the 80’s around the time the MD-80 was designed as titanium golf clubs became fashion and Russia needed all its own titanium for the Typhoon Project 941 Akula subs.

          • Clae

            Military aircraft: governments can afford to pay

            The market is already responding, price goes higher to reflect uncertainty. Small medium suppliers are hurt.

        • See the infamity!
          They put their countries on our resources.

          A bit on the cheap side, isn’t it?

  9. Huge spike in fuel prices, stay tuned on that one a as well.

    Nordstrom 3 anyone?

  10. Earlier today, the UK prohibited “Aeroflot” from flying to London, and suspect, that a Tit for Tat will follow from Russia, prohibiting All UK Airlines from flying over Russian Airspace, let alone to Moscow or St. Petersburg. As regards Titanium resources, Russia and China will fulfill their needs for their own new Aircraft Manufacturers

  11. How the heck did all of “our” Titanium and Oil end up in
    Russia [+Iran, for the latter], anyway ?

    funny old world / Resource War

    • Bill7:

      Unrestrained capitalism where we sent all our industry to China and the EU had its head in the sand.

      While Fracking needs to be regulated far better, its put the US in a better position.

      Other stuff, not so much. We can on shore mfg, metals has always been a harder issue.

      • Good days for franking is done. Ask those who know better. There were seven fat cows, and like who shall remains nameless, it’s been squandered. While bees work hard in summer, grasshoppers enjoy good days. When winter comes, you know which shall survive!

        • There were and are no good days for fracking:

          It’s an insane, short-term, groundwater-polluting,
          earthquake-causing, gas-overproducing Nightmare.

          “Yep, we’ll just inject all that grossly-polluted-for-a-hundred-years
          fracking wastewater (fracking requires tons of water, even in places that have little of it like here in California) back down into the ground- problem solved!”

          should be fine™.

          • @TW

            CNBC: America’s oil and gas wells will cost billions to cleanup

            -> Climate-focused think tank Carbon Tracker estimates that it will cost about $280 billion to plug all the documented onshore wells in the U.S. today, including active and inactive wells.

  12. There are two things to do.
    -Develop Titanium resources in other nations. Australia has them for instance. In WW2 even Cuxhaven in Germany supplied Titanium which was used in the Tinidur alloy used in the Jumo 004 engine and as a replacement for tungsten filaments.
    -Develop alternatives to Titanium.

    • Titanium is already the king of structural metals. If anything the research is to make it more useful by reducing the cost of production to the metal form

      Then theres paint which use TiO2, much cheaper as it still has the O2 attached.

      • Titanium is intermediate to steal and aluminium in almost all beneficial properties. For specific gravity Al 2.7, Ti 4.5 and Fe 7.2. Tensile strength follows the same pattern with steal stronger than Ti at the cost of higher density so the strength to weight ratio is the same. A Ti member can be made thicker and therefore more resistance to buckling. The same applies to aluminium.

        There are very few things are currently made of Titanium that can’t be replaced with Steal, Aluminium or Stainless steal with no loss in performance.

        • Titanium can be matted to carbon fibre structures more easily that other metals:
          1. it has a co-efficient of thermal expansion much closer to carbon fibre
          2. it is not subject galvanic corrosion when in contact with carbon fibre

          And that is not even getting into the timelines needed to replace titanium in an existing design. The 787 has about 10 tones of structural titanium. Replacing it would be 5 year effort at least.

          • Although Titanium is mostly corrosion resistant to many combinations of material, the use of standard cad plated fasteners common in aluminum aircraft is a major no no- in contact with the common 6Al-4v Ti parts, stress corrosion- hydrogen embrittlement is significant. So much so that 2707 program had started to replace or replate most mechanics tools with nickelplated tools. yes since then certain specialized types of Ti-cad ‘ plating have been developed.

            I mention this because the squeezing of titanium supplies will have significant effects well beyond the most obvious ‘ titanium alloy ‘ parts used in aerospace industry.

            Some day, not here , I will explain how the now common ‘ gold colored’ titanium oxide coated drills are now available in home depot and others and make related advertising a bit close to ‘ snake oil ‘

          • Thanks for the information on coefficient of expansion of Ti making it easy to match with CFRP. The first electric light bulbs had to be made of platinum because the thermal coefficient of expansion of the Pt matched glass thereby allowing a reliable seal. Electric light bulbs only became practical when a Frenchman realised that a copper cored iron wire could be tailored to match the coefficient of expansion of glass. Maybe something like that can be done.

          • AFAIR:
            the 787 had reasonably high Ti content in the initial design phase.
            The various structural shortcomings exposed during going forward to FF were quite often fixed in Ti based solutions.
            After certifications and a stable production established production cost needed to be brought down. A programme to replace Ti details with cheaper solutions was started. ( about 8..9 years ago? I had provided a link some weeks ago to counter some TW “facts”. )

  13. Any potential Western operator of an MC-21 with Russian supplied engines or systems would have to take into account the Irkut Superjet’s poor history of service issues with Western operators.

    “By February 2019, CityJet’s remaining five SSJ100s stood idle and were expected to be transferred to Slovenia’s Adria Airways, which committed for 15 in late 2018,[99] though Adria subsequently cancelled its order in April 2019.[100] Neither CityJet nor Brussels Airlines have commented as to why they dropped the SSJ, though low reliability, difficult maintenance and spare parts availability are suspected to have contributed.[101]

    As of March 2019, 15 of Interjet’s 22 SSJs were out of service. Talks with Sukhoi were deadlocked, with Interjet reportedly unwilling to pay for repairs to the PowerJet SaM146 engines.[102] Interjet’s reliability issues are compounded by the lack of service facilities for the SSJ, a factor which also contributed to the poor reliability recorded by CityJet.[103] On 15 May 2019, Interjet announced that it is to sell its 20 SSJs, of which only five are operational, as it is no longer profitable to operate aircraft of this size in Mexico.[104]

    As of May 2019, Sukhoi has had trouble selling the Superjet and renewing leasing contracts outside of Russia because of reliability and service network issues.[105] Unease with the SSJ’s low reliability also spread to Russian operators.[106] Yamal Airlines, the second-largest Russian SSJ operator, announced the cancellation of its order for 10 further SSJs, citing high servicing costs.[107] Of 30–40 SSJs owned by Aeroflot, only 10 are reportedly usable at a time due to maintenance problems.[108] Aeroflot cancelled approximately 50 Superjet flights in the week following the Flight 1492 accident. Kommersant cited industry sources as saying the Superjet 100 had lower dispatch reliability than Airbus and Boeing aircraft in the airline’s fleet historically and attributed a rise in cancellations to “increased safety measures” at Aeroflot while the accident is investigated.[109] On 4 June, the Russian Federal Air Transport Agency (Rosaviatsiya) ordered carriers to perform one-time inspections of the SSJ, including a general check of the aircraft’s condition and verification of aircraft and engine logs, by 25 June.[110]”

    “The sole remaining western operator, Interjet, suffered financial difficulties due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on aviation.[114] By the end of November 2020, the carrier’s fleet was down to just four SSJ100s.[115] In December 2020 the company ceased operation, and while able to sell almost all its other planes, it was left with its 22 SSJ100s as “dead weight”, making its financial recovery impossible.”

    • My post above was a follow up to a post along the lines of the following, that for some reason did not show up. Deleted by me or Mr. Hamilton?

      And what if the Western countries decided to cut off supply of Western made engines and systems to the Russian commercial aircraft industry? Take the Irkut MC-21 as an example.

      “By January 2019, U.S. sanctions against Russia have interrupted the supply of foreign raw materials, on which the UAC relied to produce composite parts. The UAC started looking for either domestically produced or Chinese replacements, maintaining that the wing box and consoles would still consist of polymeric composites. By then, a metal wing was “no longer on the agenda” according to the Central Aerohydrodynamic Institute (TsAGI).[58] In March 2019, AeroComposit reported that it had produced the first fuselage centre section and wing box from domestic materials.”

      “The 130 kN (30,000 lbf) thrust class Pratt & Whitney PW1000G was selected in December 2009.[61] The design configuration now calls for the PW1400G-JM geared turbo fan engine to be installed on one version.[citation needed] Russia decided to have both an internal and external supplier for the engine and nacelle for greater flexibility in controlling rate and price.

      The Russian engine will be the 8–16 tf (18,000–35,000 lbf) Aviadvigatel PD-14.[62] United Engine Corporation (UEC) planned to deliver five PD-14s for the MC-21 by the end of 2018, to start flight tests in 2019 for the MC-21 variant certification in 2021.[63] By October 2018, the PD-14 had received its Rosaviatsia type certification.[64] By October 2019, PD-14 flight-testing on the MC-21 was delayed until 2020.”

      “In August 2009, Hamilton Sundstrand, a subsidiary of United Technologies, announced it will provide electric power generation and distribution equipment for $2.3 billion over 20 years of production.[66] Rockwell Collins and its Russian partner Avionika were selected to supply the MC-21’s avionics.[67] Honeywell, Thales and Elbit Systems supplies avionics with 9 X 12 in multifunction displays, electronic flight bags, synthetic vision and enhanced vision systems. The MC-21 will be the first airliner with active sidesticks, supplied by UTC Aerospace Systems.[6] It has Fly-By-Wire controls.[57] It has a glass cockpit with side-stick controls and an optional Head-up display.

      Goodrich Corporation, also a subsidiary of United Technologies, along with Aviapribor was selected to provide the flight control system actuators.[68] Zodiac Aerospace, Eaton and Meggitt provide other components.[6] Interior furnishings will come from Zodiac Aerospace, coordinated from C&D Zodiac in Huntington Beach, California. Innovations from Zodiac Aerospace in Carson, California, will be incorporated in the water and waste systems.

      There are two types of auxiliary power units (APU) designed with specifications suitable for MC-21: HGT750 from Honeywell Aerospace[69] and TA18-200 developed by Aerosila.”

      According Wikipedia there are currently 175 firm orders for the MC-21, and all except 10 (for Azerbaijan AIrlines) are from Russian operators or entities. What would be the sales potential in Western countries for an MC-21 variant with the Western supplied engines and systems replaced by Russian designed and manufactured systems? Would any Western operator consider for a microsecond placing an MC-21 order that was not paid for in Euoro’s or US Dollars?

      • The use of western engines, APU, FBW and glass cockpit was more for purposes of easing western certification and western customer acceptance.
        The MC21 has a variant with all Russian engine (PD14), APU, FBW and Glass cockpit. It’s fairly obvious that the people that can design the Su 27/S,52 series can design an airliner. It was only a matter of time that Russians developed polymers to replace the embargoed western ones.
        Likewise the Sukhoi superjet is getting the PD10 engine. The CFM/GE/Safran engine was the main source of service difficulty so the solution is an Russian engine which can be supported properly.
        Chances of exports of the new Superjet and MC21 are minimal outside of a few states friendly with Russia given that sanctions are going to be imposed for many years.
        The will likely be a MC21 HGW with a range of 5000nmi, similar to the A321XLR. Might even be able to fly to Cuba in business jet versions.

    • From the US Commerce Department’s website on 2-24-22.

      “In response to the Russian Federation’s further invasion of Ukraine, the Bureau of Industry and Security has issued a final rule, “Implementation of Sanctions Against Russia Under the Export Administration Regulations (EAR),” which implements new Russia license requirements and licensing policies to protect U.S. national security and foreign policy interests.”

      “This final rule adds new license requirements for all Export Control Classification Numbers (ECCNs) in Categories 3-9 of the CCL. Certain of these items, in 58 ECCNs with unilateral controls, were not previously controlled to Russia and include microelectronics, telecommunications items, sensors, navigation equipment, avionics, marine equipment, and aircraft components. BIS’s restrictions should significantly impact Russia’s ability to acquire items it cannot produce itself.”

      “Under the stringent licensing review policy being implemented, applications for the export, reexport, or transfer (in-country) of items that require a license for Russia will be reviewed, with certain limited exceptions, under a policy of denial. The categories reviewed on a case-by-case basis are applications related to safety of flight, maritime safety, humanitarian needs, government space cooperation, civil telecommunications infrastructure, government-to-government activities, and to support limited operations of partner country companies in Russia.”

    • When you take your “opinions” from such as Wikipedia and armchair experts you are bound to open yourself up for correction which you may not like; here they are.

      The SaM146 is essentially a CFM56 core. That (should) speak for itself. Safran Aircraft Engines was responsible for the overall design, development and certification of the engine with NPO Saturn responsible for the low pressure section and installation. There are two versions of the engine, the 100, and the 1S18, for the Long Range and Business Jet versions of the Superjet. The 1s18 is ETOPS approved (120mins).

      The Customer Support Centre (CSC) is based in France (not Russia) and thus provides identical support, including AOG as any CFM56 customer recieves. This includes their 99 Field Reps in 11 Technical Support Centres worldwide. There are spares distribution centres (to date, two in France and one in Russia) holding and supplying all spare parts for the engines. Engine Data & Documentation Centre for all customers, is not paper based but cloud based and therefore directly accessible via the web portal. There are two MRO’s in France and in Russia. In short, design and support for the SaM146 is state of the art.

      The Superjets operate in the harshest environments, hot & high and extreme cold yet have a dispatch reliability rate of 99.9%+ and are approaching one million flight hours.

      Some engines suffered from oil collection in the burners causing premature failure of the burners. Under the agreement between Powerjet and Superjet this required a RTB repair taking up to eight months at Powerjets expense, under warranty. No spare pool of engines had been established under agreement and this caused AOG for operators. The issue has long been resolved and was proportionally, much less of an issue than say P&W’s GTF and other makers recent engines.

      The Superjet airframe is certified in the US. It has a dispatch rate exceeding that of the MAX at well over 99%. This was Interjet’s experience; a new carrier, with a new type in hot & high ops. with up to 13 cycles per day. The aircraft is extensively operated in Yakutia year round with average winter daytime temperatures of -29C.

      Bloomberg reported that Interjet was “cannibalising” their Superjets from January 2019 onwards. During this period it was shown (on FlightRadar) that all 22 of Interjet’s Superjets were in fact, flying for this and the subsequent six month period at least. Throughout this same period the Superjet Zhukovsky spares warehouse was reporting full inventories. No other operator had spares on backorder at this time.

      Subsequently, in bankruptcy proceedings at Interjet it was found that they had not paid their contractual obligations for spare parts for their Superjets.

      However, during that same period, the management of Interjet leased a new fleet of Airbus A320’s at great expense (arranged by Airbus) and placed these much larger aircraft on the (parked and fully operational) Superjet routes.

      Following an FBI investigation Airbus later paid €4billion fine for paying bribes in arranging aircraft lease deals in South America and elsewhere in what the UK courts characterised as “endemic’ corruption”. Mr Hamilton’s excellent book will give some insight into these practices. Interjet was in financial chaos throughout this period and shortly after collapsed with debts of $1.25 billion. It remains to be seen if any of Interjet’s management will face criminal charges in these matters.

      Amongst the creditors was a $380million debt to Superjet – they had never paid Superjet for any of their 22 aircraft. They got and operated the aircraft for free. The aircraft were financed under an inter-Se “Pari-Passu” syndicated loan agreement by four banks; Deutsch Bank, Intesa, Natixus and VEB. The nationalities of these banks sheds further light on the story. These creditors have made no efforts to recover their aircraft. The debt was underwritten by the Russian taxpayer and to all intents and purposes, written off. Such is the murky world of the airline industry.

      CityJet (of Ireland) is a not dissimilar story to Interjet. It was financially shaky and always had been. To state that if failed because of the Superjet is simply not true. It failed through mismanagement and GMT actions re: Covid. It failed to maintain it’s contractual agreements with Brussels Airlines because if fell below certain covenants. This sent it into a financial tail spin where it could not meet its technical and financial obligations of its’ Superjets. What remains of Cityjet is inter alia, now owned by KLM. KLM/Air France could not care less about a handful of redundant Superjets.

      It is noteworthy that all who flew on CityJet’s SSJ’s had nothing but high praise for the experience, in particular in comparison to the Embraer and to a slightly lesser extent, the CS100.

      The Superjet is successfully in operation in Russia with excellent reliability. Like all airlines, the right airframe has to be applied to the right route. Like all airlines, this seldom happens. Aircraft require competent operators.

      MC-21 is the best narrow body flying. It is far in advance of the Airbus (and of course, the relic from Boeing) and this alone marks the programme for all of the dirty tricks the natural duopoly can, will and has deployed. In service record of the MC-21 is obviously, unknown.

      The airline industry is not for the infantile. It is vicious and needs vicious characters to participate. If you are not up to the fight, stay away.

      In answering your question as to who would by either the Superjet of the MC-21 I can do no better than quote Nathan Rothschild:- “Buy When There’s Blood in the Streets”.

      • Putin not vicious enough?!
        Or has he just stollen all the money that could have been used for bribes?

        • “In answering your question as to who would by either the Superjet of the MC-21 I can do no better than quote Nathan Rothschild:- “Buy When There’s Blood in the Streets”. ”

          I would call that as delusional as Putin and as cold as Hitlers heart.

          • -> “Ruble is up against the dollar

            Russian stock market is up 15%

            Europe is buying more Russian gas …

  14. It appears that one commenter doesn’t adequately realize that — apart from Russia — there are other large natural gas producers that supply the EU — including Norway, Azerbaijan and Algeria. Preference has traditionally been given to Russian gas, because it’s transported by pipe rather than ship. Russia has continued to supply every single cubic meter of the gas that it was *contracted* to supply — it’s only on the *spot market* that it hasn’t supplied anything extra. Although NordStream 2 is now currently on hold, NordStream 1 is operational.

    Further, in view of sanctions placed on Venezuela, the US has had to find replacement sources of crude oil — resulting in a record import of Russian oil in 2021.

    Where energy is concerned, much/most of it is concentrated in countries that are not without controversy. It’s been that way for decades.

    The US has huge dependency on China for rare earth metals, and yet I don’t see any reprimands from said commenter for that dependency.

    • -The security of gas and oil pipelines is paramount. Very bad things always happen when they are not. Germany would seem to be most dependant on Russian energy with about 40% of it coming in the form of Natural Gas (and coal). For the EU the total is 26% with another 8% from Kazakhstan.
      The combined effect of the Germans shutting down their nuclear (for ideological) & coal for climate change reasons has left them & Europe in this situation. The German Greens are in coalition Government and are a Green Left party.. Their opposition to building a shipping terminal to import LNG ensured that the deterrence effect of a potential reprisal against Russia by refusing gas would be impossible. There was no meaningful sanction possible and so the lack of this terminal was one enabling factor to the Invasion.
      German energy independence is supposed to occur in 2045 by some miracle of renewable energy. German population density is 250 per sqkm and it would thus require about a 2.5MW 92 meter tall wind turbine every 4 sqkm just for electricity of 24kwhr/day per capita. The wind turbines would need to be 2 km apart over the whole country and no human would ever be further than 1km from one. This is clearly impossible or at least hellish. To cover the needs now met by direct burning of coal, oil, natural gas and petroleum for cars and trucks would more than double this. I would assume they are relying on advances in solar photovoltaics.

      • Be careful extrapolating the situation in Germany to the rest of the EU: there’s no shortage of winter gas reserves here in NL, for example.

        • Unfortunately for the EU Germany is a huge economy within the EU & if they mismanage things it has a huge effect elsewhere. They did not have a plan B. I understand there are historical reasons for this and the German Government tried more than most to develop good relations with Russia to bring them in. Possibly undermined by other powers. I have also no sympathy for folks on a high horse from countries blessed with vast amounts of oil and gas reserves. It is what it is.
          Certainly at this point the aviation industry needs to develop alternatives to Titanium and alternative sources. Airbus in particular offset titanium production with Aeroflot A350 purchases.
          In terms of energy independence, including aviation fuel perhaps there will be enough ‘renewables’ to cover basic electrical and heating needs with the energy for transport (including SAF) and industrial production coming elsewhere. Holland seems a bit more prepared than most and has I suspect good offshore wind resources.
          There are significant deep underground aquifers in and around Germany (including Holland) that could be used to sequester CO2 from blue hydrogen production.
          One good thing about renewables is that it will provide a certain amount of energy independence that might prevent the tensions we get from control of oil supplies.

        • -There is a good source of information on German and EU energy from Russian sources here:

          -One reason that an LNG terminal has not been built in Germany is that LNG can be accepted in neighbouring countries and degasified and piped to Germany, though the capacity is limited it seems and I note issues with reversibility of pipelines in some cases..
          -Most of the Natural Gas is used for lower grade heating and the plan is that much of it can be replaced by even higher insulation levels than the already high ones Germany has. (there is a program).
          -Obviously hydrogen as a storage medium and heat pumps can help here.
          -All new houses in Germany must be fully covered by solar cells and the infeed tariffs are going to be nearly trebled to encourage retrofits of existing roofs. Wind can’t do it alone.
          -So there is some hope that Germany can get close to energy independence for its electricity and heating by 2030.
          -German industry strongly supports Russian Natural Gas due to its cheapness. At the end of the day the country must stay competitive for Germans (and Europeans) to have jobs and quality of life. It looks like however the dependence can be greatly reduced fairly quickly.

  15. @TW

    Feb 24

    -> European utilities are set to buy tomorrow more Russian natural gas (from Gazprom) via Ukraine pipelines. Yes, you read that right: Europe will be buying more natural gas. From Russia. Via Ukraine. Tomorrow.

    Feb 25

    => Preliminary indications for Saturday are that Russian gas flows into the EU (via Ukraine) will rise further, potentially hitting a 2-month high.

    I come from a place that supplies oil and gas to your country. Energy independence?? Lol.

    • > I come from a place that supplies oil and gas to your country. Energy independence?? Lol. <

      Meanwhile here in the US our motor vehicles become
      ever-larger, taller, less efficient (scarier-looking, too;
      check out the front ends with their shark appearance, accentuated by the mascara-like daytime headlights). Not an accident, I think.

        • Yes, good point. Here in the US they’re dark-tinted, too; good luck
          making eye contact w/ the other
          driver, for safety’s sake.

  16. In recent years many of the oil and natural gas pipelines in Europe have had their pumping facilities adjusted so that they can power flow BOTH ways. I suspect that while some facile politicians in Europe (notably Germany and Hungary) have assumed the perfection of Putin, that more astute government associates have seen the risk of excessive dependence. Since almost all pipelines in the EU are required to be linked this allows of course for the import of natural gas in particular from Norway, Algeria and now by the southern route from Turkey. In the long term Russia may well find it has cut itself off from its closest and richest market with China a long-term, very distant and rather cheap alternative.

    • Putin came back from the Olympics with a nice prize in his pocket: 30 years of gas contracts from the Chinese (in Rubles).

      • I recall that gas contract was less than 5% of the volume europe bought each year. And its from a gas fiel in the east. Europe is supplied by gas fields in the west. And wasnt that gas contract in EURO?

  17. Bryce’s latest comment about a long-term gas contact
    between Russia and China again brings up the question: why has the West (perhaps not monolithically) been intent on driving those two countries ever-closer together ?

    I’m pretty sure George Kennan would’ve had something to say about that.. but there’s so much we in the peanut galleries don’t know.

    • Great question.
      And it’s actually worse, because the “outcast club” also contains many other, smaller members, such as Iran, Venezuela, North Korea, etc…all driven into bed with one another by that most wonderful of “western” instruments — the sanctions package.

      • > TransWorld
        February 24, 2022


        I gather you prefer being under the Soviets? <

        That certainly wouldn't be a case of binary thinking from our Alaskan sage, would it ?

        By the way, friend: the Soviet Union was disbanded thirty-plus years ago. The Western oligarchs' real issue is that RU have "our" oil, gas, and many other resources, titanium being just one more. The *nerve* they have..


      • I think those are good points, and am especially
        interested in the Russia-Venezuela and Iran-China (?) relationships, at the moment.

      • The core of MAGA.

        IMU thinking is that creating an “aggrtessor” block will drive the “allies” back under the US umbrella.

        Then I don’t quite know what to make of that “world island theorie” ( Makinder ) in context of today’s US objectives.
        Ukraine is the world islands linch pin.

  18. Good to see John Mearsheimer mentioned above.
    A prescient quote from him:

    > Analysis & prediction on Ukraine from 6 years ago:

    “The West is leading Ukraine down the primrose path & the end result is Ukraine is going to get wrecked.”

    -John J. Mearsheimer, R. Wendell Harrison Distinguished Service Professor of Political Science at the U. of Chicago, <

  19. Interesting article on AirInsight:
    “UPDATE – Who feels the pain of Russian aircraft sanctions?”

    “As such, more Western sanctions on Russia could derail the entry into service of the MC-21. In the worst-case scenario – for UAC and Irkut – they should wait until the -310 version with Russian-made Aviadvigatel PD-14 engines has been certified. And they should advance the development of homemade systems that they were already working on. The earlier ban on the export of composites delayed the production of wings of the MC-21 and forced UAC to source the material inside Russia and actually helped the Russian industry to become more independent.”


    And also very informative (and not surprising):
    “How US sanctions have actually helped Irkut”

  20. Not unexpected — ill-conceived “western” sanctions are already starting to have unforeseen consequences:
    “Russian President Putin orders nuclear forces on high alert”

    “Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered his defense chiefs to put the country’s nuclear “deterrence forces” on high alert on Sunday and accused the West of taking “unfriendly” steps against his country.

    “I order the defense minister and the chief of the general staff of the Russian armed forces to put the deterrence forces of the Russian army into a special mode of combat service,” Putin said.

    “You see that Western countries are not only unfriendly to our country in the economic sphere — I mean illegitimate sanctions,” he added, in a televised address.
    “Senior officials of leading NATO countries also allow aggressive statements against our country.””

    I can’t wait to see that the Alaskan correspondent has to say about this — “red fever” was already bad, but will now probably go into total overdrive. Time to put the wagons in a circle and head into the nuke shelters!

  21. @Bryce

    I’m sorry, but what are you trying to convey?

    The fact of the matter is that by invading Ukraine, the indiscriminate attacks in violation of the laws of war in Ukraine, and now, by threatening the World with a nuclear exchange, Vladimir Putin has demonstrated to the World that he is a war criminal of the highest order — a war criminal not seen since the death of the Bohemian corporal.

    The ongoing Russian military fiasco was to be expected. Clearly things have not gone to plan. Putin’s tactical genius has been shown for what it really is. Going for the “nuclear threat” this early means that he’s panicking — it’s the last card he can play.

    What is noteworthy, though, is how all of Putin’s useful idiots in the west are reacting and how Putin’s fifth columns in the U.S. and the West are operating. Their support for a fascist regime’s mission to conquer a fledgling democracy and snuff out its hard-won independence goes far beyond party politics and shows hatred for the fundamental values of their own countries, as well as contempt for the many innocent Ukrainians who are already dead, are dying or are being displaced at the hands of Russian invaders. The leader of Putin’s fifth column in the United States, even went as far in an interview with a right-wing podcast, as to openly praising as “genius” Putin’s declaration of two breakaway regions in Ukraine’s Donbas region as “independent.”

    • Lets stay away from the hateful words and statements that usually come up with political conflicts.

      Orks versus Elf’s isn’t reality. But it’s the perceptions we need to have young men go out kill each other without realising the other guy has a mother, and prefers FIFA22, Cola & Verstappen too.

    • Just because the world is confronted by grevious actions of a regime doesn’t mean that it’s a good idea to take knee-jerk reactions that can potentially add fuel to the fire.
      As I pointed out above, there have been recent instances in which a “western” power illegially invaded another sovereign territory; note, in those instances, that there were no hasty “pounce reactions” from other world powers. Now that the table has turned, it might be wise to reflect on those past instances: the rule book doesn’t have one set of rules “for us” and another set of rules “for them”.

      Sanctions don’t work: they inflict short-term inconvenience, while concurrently fostering/precipitating long-term immunity.

      • Oh please – sanctions work perfectly well (remember South Africa). The reason they were not imposed when the West invaded was because either the other powers agreed (Afghanistan) or because they knew that the invading powers held the keys to international monetary sanctions (the US and UK into Iraq). In this case the shoe is on the utterly opposite foot – with the money brokers opposed.

        • FWIW seems like we have a bunch of armchair pundits who have strayed far far far from the basic subject of this thread- re titanium and related material and its effects on commercial aviation.

          While all of us are guilty to a certain extent- IMHO- it has gone now so far off topic it should be closed.

          Just my .000002 cents or .00000000001 ruble

          • Hello Bubba2,

            Re: “FWIW seems like we have a bunch of armchair pundits who have strayed far far far from the basic subject of this thread- re titanium and related material and its effects on commercial aviation.”

            Agreed. But I think a far better solution than the one you proposed would be for the moderator to edit out the off topic posts, as was done early in this thread, or to ban the handful of posters who consistently turn the comments on almost every post, no matter the topic, into a debate about West vs. East politics or other aspects of their non-aviation related political or world views. I think it is too bad that those who want to discuss aviation here, more and more often get that opportunity cut off because of the handful of posters who want to turn the comments on every post into a political debate.

          • RE AP-Robert and ..” Agreed. But I think a far better solution than the one you proposed would be for the moderator to edit out the off topic posts, as was done early in this thread, or to ban the handful of posters who consistently turn the comments on almost every post, no matter the topic, ..
            Agreed- BUT I’m sure Scott has much better things to do.

            No easy answer – possibly a 3 month ‘ timeout’ or similar might work. After 2nd or 3rd time- ban.
            (Of course easy to create new … )

            Now about those ‘ gold colored ‘ “titanium” drills. . .

            I’m guilty in more ways than anyone here knows- about 60 years ago . ..

          • @ AP_Robert
            You have a lengthy post above about the quality of Irkut’s after-sales service…not exactly “on-topic” in an article relating to Titanium suppliers.

            Posting about the industrial effect of sanctions is relevant, because any decision by Russia to curtail supplies of Titanium, gas, oil, etc., will be in response to sanctions imposed upon it. You know the saying about a cornered cat.

          • There are a handful of posters who initiate of topic posts with political opinions often narrow. Once this happens other posters who would otherwise stay on topic feel it’s unfair that the forum had been used and add a correction or counter opinion. Editing the original off topic poster and the responses is enough because it gets rid of the original irritation that set folks off. They’ll remember next time to not indulge.

        • @ David Hughes
          The South African sanctions were 40 years ago.
          In the meantime, Russia (Crimea), Iran and North Korea have shown us that sanctions have no effect — other than to make the sanctioned party more independent. The recent tariffs imposed by the US on China and the EU have similarly failed to achieve any net result.

          The world consists of more than just “money brokers” — there are now “resource brokers” who have very considerable power. It’s relatively easy to set up a parallel international payments system (such as CIPS in China), but it’s a little harder to find alternative sources of raw materials.

          • Bryce: It depends on the scope (measured in terms of the number and importance of the nations involved): The reason that South Africa worked is because the sanctions were, for all practical purposes, world-wide, severe and policed. That is the case with those against Russia. You are of course quite correct that qualified sanctions can have a reverse effect – your citation of the Crimea where half the EU, let alone non-European nations failed to abide by sanctions is correct. But that is not, by any stretch of the imagination true today. All this because Putin was not able to achieve what he was promised (or believed) – an almost instant decapitation of Ukraine.

          • @ David Hughes
            China is not sanctioning Russia — and China is a very powerful country.
            Plenty of other countries are also not jumping onto the sanctions bandwagon in this instance — India, SE Asia, Iran and other ME countries, countries in Africa and South America.
            Once again: sanctions don’t work.

    • ” Their support for a fascist regime …”

      Wow. This is quick. Putting label on them and brush them aside …

      Hope cooler heads prevail.

  22. 10% inflation soon? I wouldn’t be surprised. You can’t isolate aviation from the world, a shock wave can have unforeseen consequences.

    • There’s a price for everything, including sanctions (and wars), no matter you pay voluntarily or involuntarily

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