Titanium Metals: Demand Taking Off

This producer is in a good position to benefit from surging titanium prices -- fueled by aircraft orders and industrial demand from China.

Newcomers are headed for an airport near you. The Airbus A380, currently the world's biggest passenger aircraft, made its maiden voyage March 19. The behemoth can seat as many as 555 passengers. Not to be outdone, rival Boeing plans to launch the 787 Dreamliner, a large, fuel-efficient carrier, by May 2008.

Whether Airbus or Boeing rules the skies, the manufacturers will need more titanium. The metal will account for about 22% of the total weight of the Boeing 787. To produce a single A380, Airbus requires about 77 tons of titanium, which is as strong as steel, about 45% lighter and corrosive resistant.

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Contributing Editor, Kiplinger's Personal Finance