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No ‘demand impact’ seen from Dreamliner woes: ATI

Keywords: Tags  ATI, Richard Harshman, titanium, Boeing 787, Dreamliner, Titanium Metals, VSMPO, Allvac Uniti

LOS ANGELES — The problems that have grounded Boeing Co.’s 787 Dreamliners haven’t hurt Allegheny Technologies Inc. (ATI), the company’s top executive said this week.

"We have not seen any demand impact for our products due to (the Dreamliner’s) current operating issues," ATI chairman, president and chief executive officer Richard Harshman said.

Most of the approximately 50 Dreamliners that Boeing has delivered so far have been grounded due to potential fire hazards associated their lithium batteries. Boeing has said that it won’t deliver any more 787s until a Federal Aviation Administration probe is resolved. However, a Boeing spokesman stressed to AMM that despite the recent suspension of deliveries, "production of the 787 continues" (, Jan. 23).

Pittsburgh-based ATI is one of three global titanium producers that supply mill products under long-term supply agreements with the Chicago-based aerospace company’s Boeing Commercial Airplanes subsidiary. The other producers are Portland, Ore.-based Precision Castparts Corp.’s Titanium Metals Corp. subsidiary in Dallas and Verkhnaya Salda, Russia-based VSMPO-Avisma Corp.

While these producers supply titanium for all of Boeing’s airliners, the 787 by far consumes the largest amount of metal on a per-plane basis.

Meanwhile, titanium shipments for ATI’s High Performance Metals group, which includes Monroe, N.C.-based long products unit ATI Allvac Inc., topped 5.7 million pounds in the fourth quarter. That’s up 1.1 percent from the same period a year earlier, due mainly to higher demand from airframe customers, which offset lower volume from the jet engine aftermarket, the company said this week.

The group’s average titanium price fell 5.2 percent in the same comparison to $22.65 per pound due to a decline in raw material surcharges, ATI said.

Shipments of flat-rolled titanium products, which include ATI’s non-aerospace Uniti LLC joint venture with VSMPO-Avisma in Moon Township, Pa., rose 22 percent quarter on quarter to 3.2 million pounds in the fourth quarter, as shipments for previously delayed projects began, ATI said. While the company didn’t identify the projects, they are believed to include shipments of pipe skelp for Middle Eastern desalination facilities.

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