PARIS (Reuters) - Europe's Airbus (>> Airbus SE) does not buy products directly from Japan's Kobe Steel (>> Kobe Steel, Ltd.) but is investigating whether any of its suppliers have been affected by a cheating scandal at the Japanese group, an Airbus spokesman said.
"So far we have not identified any suppliers that procure materials from Kobe Steel for parts fitted on our aircraft," he said by email.
In July last year, however, Kobe Steel said it had begun mass production of titanium forged parts for A350 landing gear. The parts would be supplied to France's Safran (>> Safran), which manufactures the gear for Airbus's newest long-haul jet.
Safran had no immediate comment.
Announcing the contract jointly with Safran in 2014, Kobe said the parts for A350 landing gear would be manufactured by Kobe Steel and its affiliate Japan Aeroforge in Kurashiki.
Japan Aeroforge is a venture controlled by Kobe Steel and Hitachi Metals.
A Kobe Steel spokesman said that Japan Aeroforge is still making parts for Safran Landing Systems. The venture's products are "not at this point" included in the probe, he added.
The A350 entered service in 2015. It was not immediately clear whether any Kobe-supplied parts had yet entered the fleet.
Asked about the status of the Kobe contract with Safran, an Airbus spokeswoman said its investigation was continuing.
The Nikkei newspaper reported earlier that more than 30 non-Japanese customers including Airbus had been affected by data fabrication discovered at the Japanese firm.
(Reporting by Tim Hepher, Tim Kelly; Editing by Sarah White and Adrian Croft)