Boeing and Airbus Planes Unwittingly Used Fake Titanium

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The FAA is deeply concerned that Boeing and Airbus planes were constructed with “fake” Chinese titanium. It could cause their jets to break apart in mid-air.

On Friday, the Financial Times reported that Boeing acknowledged some parts of their jets contain counterfeit titanium from China.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reported that Boeing told officials they received titanium parts containing counterfeit documentation. Boeing bought the counterfeit components from Spirit AeroSystems, a Kansas-based aerostructure manufacturer. The New York Times reported Spirit AeroSystems received the titanium from China, where its documentation was reportedly falsified.

The FAA said, “Once we realized the counterfeit titanium made its way into the supply chain, we immediately contained all suspected parts to determine the scope of the issues.”

Usually, when they get bulk metal delivered, they do tensile strength, yield strength, and other destructive testing. If it’s not titanium, what the Hell is it? Did they test it? You can’t just take this stuff and make a plane out of it.

They have chromatography. They should know.

It goes back five years!

Sources told the New York Times that the issue dates back to 2019 when material supplier Turkish Aerospace Industries bought a batch of titanium from a Chinese supplier and sold it to several other suppliers. One of them was the Italian firm Titanium International Group, which noticed in December 2023 that the titanium it usually received looked different. The certificates that came with it also seemed inauthentic.

The Source of the Titanium Is Unclear

TIG earlier sold some of the suspect titanium to Spirit and notified it after the discovery, stressing that it had no idea the paperwork was forged at the time.

Spirit began investigating and told Boeing and Airbus in January that they couldn’t verify where the titanium came from.

Sources told the NYT the deception originated with the Chinese supplier, which presented it as being from the well-known and trusted Chinese supplier, Baoji Titanium Industry.

The firm told the newspaper that Baoji Titanium doesn’t know about the company and has no business dealings with it, confirming it didn’t sell the batch of metal in question.

As a result, the source of the titanium was not clear, and the affected parts would likely be monitored and replaced during routine maintenance.

Spirit Needs to Look Into Their Partners

Spirit has signed agreements with two freight carriers to place 757 inlet cowling work with GAMECO. In February, Spirit signed a contract with YTO Cargo Airlines (YTO), based in Hangzhou, China; and in September 2021, Spirit signed a 10-year agreement with SF Airlines (SFA), a cargo carrier based in Shenzhen, China.

Spirit is the same company that made the door on the 737 Max plane, which suffered a door blowout on January 5 and began Boeing’s recent spate of problems.


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