Boeing suspends Moscow Engineering Center and stops supporting Russian airlines

The future of this source of engineering talent is now uncertain.

A Boeing note for employees on Monday quoted Sergei Kravchenko, president of Boeing Russia, who also heads operations in Ukraine and the former Soviet republics, as saying that the safety of employees and their families is a top priority.

“We are one Boeing and we have each other’s backs,” Kravchenko said.

However, illustrating the difficulties that Boeing’s now close relationship with Russia brings, Kravchenko, like most important business leaders in Russia, is acting under the leadership of the Kremlin. A biography of his campaign shows that in 2013, “Kravchenko was awarded the Order of Friendship by Russian President Vladimir Putin.”

In addition to engineering talents, Russia supplies Boeing with an important raw material: titanium.

In November last year, the Russian company VSMPO-AVISMA and Boeing signed an agreement to strengthen the joint venture and confirmed that the Russian supplier “will remain the largest supplier of titanium for current and future Boeing commercial aircraft.”

Kevin Michaels, founder of AeroDynamic Advisory and an aerospace supply chain expert, said VSMPO supplies about 35% of the titanium used in the design parts of Boeing gliders, particularly for the 787 and 777 wide-body aircraft.

Lightweight and strong titanium is the metal most compatible with the carbon fiber composite widely used on the 787 and future 777X. It is used for heavy construction parts such as chassis.

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