The Boeing Company is a major aerospace and defense corporation, originally founded by William E. Boeing in Seattle, Washington. Boeing has expanded over the years, merging with McDonnell Douglas in 1997. Its international headquarters has been in Chicago, Illinois, US since 2001. Boeing is the largest global aircraft manufacturer by revenue, orders and deliveries, and the second-largest aerospace and defense contractor in the world. Boeing is the largest exporter in the United States. Its stock is a component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average.
Boeing was incorporated in Seattle, Washington by William E. Boeing, on July 15, 1916, as "Pacific Aero Products Co." following the June 15 maiden flight of one of the two "B&W" seaplanes built with the assistance of George Conrad Westervelt, a U.S. Navy engineer. Many of Boeing's early planes were seaplanes. On May 9, 1917, the company became the "Boeing Airplane Company". William E. Boeing had studied at Yale University and worked initially in the timber industry, where he became wealthy and acquired knowledge about wooden structures. This knowledge would prove invaluable in his subsequent design and assembly of airplanes.
In 1927 Boeing created an airline named Boeing Air Transport, which merged a year later with Pacific Air Transport and the Boeing Airplane Company. The company changed its name to United Aircraft and Transport Corporation in 1929 and acquired Pratt & Whitney, Hamilton Standard Propeller Company, and Chance Vought. United Aircraft then purchased National Air Transport in 1930.
In 1933 the revolutionary Boeing 247 was introduced, the first truly modern airliner. It was much faster, safer, and easier to fly than other passenger aircraft. For example, it was the first twin engine passenger aircraft that could fly on one engine. In an era of unreliable engines, this vastly improved flight safety. Boeing built the first sixty aircraft exclusively for its own airline operations. This badly hurt competing airlines, and was typical of the anti-competitive corporate behavior that the US government sought to prohibit at the time.
The Air Mail Act of 1934 prohibited airlines and manufacturers from being under the same corporate umbrella, so the company split into three smaller companies - Boeing Airplane Company, United Airlines, and United Aircraft Corporation, the precursor to United Technologies. As a result, William Boeing sold off his shares.
Shortly after, an agreement with Pan American World Airways (Pan Am) was reached, to develop and build a commercial flying boat able to carry passengers on transoceanic routes. The first flight of the Boeing 314 Clipper was in June 1938. It was the largest civil aircraft of its time, with a capacity of 90 passengers on day flights, and of 40 passengers on night flights. One year later, the first regular passenger service from the US to the UK was inaugurated. Subsequently other routes were opened, so that soon Pan Am flew with the Boeing 314 to destinations all over the world.
In 1938, Boeing completed work on the Model 307 Stratoliner. This was the world’s first pressurized-cabin transport aircraft, and it was capable of cruising at an altitude of . — above most weather disturbances.
During World War II, Boeing built a large number of bombers. Many of the workers were women whose husbands had gone to war. In the beginning of March 1944, production had been scaled up in such a manner that over 350 planes were built each month. To prevent an attack from the air, the manufacturing plants had been covered with greenery and farmland items. During these years of war the leading aircraft companies of the US cooperated. The Boeing-designed B-17 bomber was assembled also by Lockheed Aircraft Corp. and Douglas Aircraft Co., while the B-29 was assembled also by Bell Aircraft Co. and by Glenn L. Martin Company.
After the war, most orders of bombers were canceled and 70,000 people lost their jobs at Boeing. The company aimed to recover quickly by selling its Stratocruiser, a luxurious four-engine commercial airliner developed from the B-29. However, sales of this model were not as expected and Boeing had to seek other opportunities to overcome the situation. The company successfully sold military aircraft adapted for troop transportation and for aerial refueling.
Boeing developed military jets such as the B-47 Stratojet and B-52 Stratofortress in the late-1940s and into the 1950s. During the early 1950s, Boeing used company funds to develop the 367-80 jet airliner demonstrator that lead to the KC-135 Stratotanker and Boeing 707 jetliner.
In the mid-1950s technology had advanced significantly, which gave Boeing the opportunity to develop and manufacture totally new products. One of the first was the guided short-range missile used to intercept enemy aircraft. By that time the Cold War had become a fact of life, and Boeing used its short-range missile technology to develop and build an intercontinental missile.
In 1958, Boeing began delivery of its 707, the United States' first commercial jet airliner, in response to the British De Havilland Comet, French Sud Aviation Caravelle and Soviet Tupolev Tu-104, which were the world’s first generation of commercial jet aircraft. With the 707, a four-engine, 156-passenger airliner, the US became a leader in commercial jet manufacture. A few years later, Boeing added a second version of this aircraft, the 720, which was slightly faster and had a shorter range.
Vertol Aircraft Corporation was acquired by Boeing in 1960, and was reorganized as Boeing's Vertol division. The twin-rotor CH-47 Chinook, produced by Vertol, took its first flight in 1961. This heavy-lift helicopter remains a work-horse vehicle up to the present day. In 1964, Vertol also began production of the CH-46 Sea Knight.
In December, 1960 Boeing announced the model 727 jetliner, which went into commercial service about three years later. Different passenger, freight and convertible freighter variants were developed for the 727. The 727 was the first commercial jetliner to reach 1000 sales, and a few years later the 1500 mark was set.
In 1967, Boeing introduced another short- and medium-range airliner, the twin-engine 737. It has become since then the best-selling commercial jet aircraft in aviation history. The 737 is still being produced, and continuous improvements are made. Several versions have been developed, mainly to increase seating capacity and range.
The roll-out ceremonies for the first 747-100 took place in 1968, at the massive new factory in Everett, about an hour's drive from Boeing's Seattle home. The aircraft made its first flight a year later. The first commercial flight occurred in 1970. The 747 has an intercontinental range and a larger seating capacity than Boeing's previous aircraft.
Boeing also developed hydrofoils in the 1960s. The screw driven USS High Point (PCH-1) was an experimental submarine hunter. The patrol hydrofoil USS Tucumcari (PGH-2) was more successful. Only one was built, but it saw service in Vietnam and Europe before running aground in 1972. Its innovative waterjet and fully submersed flying foils were the model for the later Pegasus class patrol hydrofoils and Jetfoil ferries in the 1980s. The Tucumcari and later boats were produced in Renton. While the Navy hydrofoils were withdrawn by the end of the 1980s, the swift and smooth Boeing Jetfoils are still in service in Asia.
In the beginning of the 1970s, Boeing faced a new crisis. The Apollo program, in which Boeing had participated significantly during the preceding decade, was almost entirely canceled. Once more, Boeing hoped to compensate with sales of its commercial airliners. At that time, however, there was a heavy recession in the airlines industry so that Boeing did not receive any orders for more than a year. Boeing's bet for the future, the new 747, while delayed in production by three months because of problems with its Pratt & Whitney engines. Another problem was that in 1971, the U.S. Congress decided to stop the financial support for the development of the supersonic 2707, Boeing's answer to the British-French Concorde, forcing the company to discontinue the project. The company had to reduce the number of employees from over 80,000 to almost half, only in the Seattle area.
In January 1970, the first 747, a four-engine long-range airliner, flew its first commercial flight. This famous aircraft completely changed the way of flying, with its 450-passenger seating capacity and its upper deck. Boeing has delivered nearly 1,400 747s. The 747 has undergone continuous improvements to keep it technologically up-to-date. Larger versions have also been developed by stretching the upper deck.
During the 1970s, Boeing also developed the US Standard Light Rail Vehicle which was used in San Francisco, Boston and Morgantown, WV.
In 1983, the economic situation began to improve. Boeing assembled its 1,000th 737 passenger airliner. During the following years, commercial aircraft and their military versions became the basic equipment of airlines and air forces. As passenger air traffic increased, competition was harder, mainly from a European newcomer in commercial airliner manufacturing, Airbus. Boeing had to offer new aircraft, and developed the single-aisle 757, the larger, twin-aisle 767, and upgraded versions of the 737. An important project of these years was the Space Shuttle, to which Boeing contributed with its experience in space rockets acquired during the Apollo era. Boeing participated also with other products in the space program, and was the first contractor for the International Space Station. At the same time, several military projects went into production, the Avenger air defense system and a new generation of short-range missiles. During these years, Boeing was very active in upgrading existing military equipment and developing new ones.
Boeing was one of seven companies competing for the Advanced Tactical Fighter. Boeing's entry was not selected but, as part of an agreement with General Dynamics and Lockheed, all three companies would participate in the development if one of the three company's design was selected. The Lockheed design was eventually selected and developed into the F-22 Raptor.
In April 1994, Boeing introduced the most modern commercial jet aircraft at the time, the twin-engine 777, with a seating capacity of between 300 and 400 passengers in a standard three class layout, in between the 767 and the 747. The longest range twin-engined aircraft in the world, the 777 was the first Boeing airliner to feature a "fly-by-wire" system and was conceived partly in response to the inroads being made by the European Airbus into Boeing’s traditional market. This aircraft reached an important milestone by being the first airliner to be designed entirely by using CAD techniques. Also in the mid-1990s, the company developed the revamped version of the 737, known as the “Next-Generation 737”, or 737NG. It has since become the fastest-selling version of the 737 in history, and on April 20, 2006 sales passed those of the 'Classic 737', with a follow-up order for 79 aircraft from Southwest Airlines. The “Next-Generation 737” line includes the 737-600, the 737-700, the 737-800, and the 737-900.
In 1996, Boeing acquired Rockwell’s aerospace and defense units. The Rockwell products became a subsidiary of Boeing, named Boeing North American, Inc. In August of the next year, Boeing merged with McDonnell Douglas in a US$13 billion stock swap under the name The Boeing Company. However this name had actually been Boeing's official name previously adapted on May 21, 1961. Following the merger, the McDonnell Douglas MD-95 was renamed the Boeing 717, and the production of the MD-11 was limited to the freighter version. Boeing introduced a new corporate identity with completion of the merger, incorporating the Boeing logo type and a stylized version of the McDonnell Douglas symbol, which was derived from the Douglas Aircraft logo from the 1970s.
On October 10, 2001, Boeing lost to its rival Lockheed Martin in the fierce competition for the multi-billion dollar Joint Strike Fighter contract. Boeing’s entry, the X-32, was rejected in favor of Lockheed’s X-35 entrant. Boeing continues to serve as the prime contractor on the International Space Station and has built several of the major components.
After several decades of success, Boeing lost ground to Airbus and subsequently lost its position as market leader in 2003. Multiple Boeing projects were pursued and then canceled, notably the Sonic Cruiser, a proposed jetliner that would travel just under the speed of sound, cutting intercontinental travel times by as much as 20 percent. It was launched in 2001 along with a new advertising campaign to promote the company's new motto, "Forever New Frontiers", and to rehabilitate its image. However, the plane's fate was sealed by the changes in the commercial aviation market following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and the subsequent weak economy and increase in fuel prices.
Subsequently, Boeing streamlined production and turned its attention to a new model, the 787 Dreamliner, using much of the technology developed for the Sonic Cruiser, but in a more conventional aircraft designed for maximum efficiency. The company also launched new variants of its successful 737 and 777 models. The 787 proved to be highly popular choice with airlines, and won a record number of pre-launch orders at a time in which Airbus was seen to be struggling with delays and cost overruns in producing its A380 suberjumbo; at the same time, several airlines threatened to switch their A380 orders to Boeing's modernized version of the 747, the 747-8. Airbus's response to the 787, the A350, received a lukewarm response at first when it was announced as an improved version of the A330, and only gained significant orders when Airbus promised an entirely new design.
In 2004, Boeing ended production of the 757 after 1055 were produced. More advanced, stretched versions of the 737 were beginning to compete against the 757, and the new 787-3 filled much of the top end of the 757 market. Also that year, Boeing announced that the 717, the last civil aircraft to be designed by McDonnell Douglas, would cease production in 2006. The 767 was in danger of cancellation as well, with the 787 replacing it, but orders for the freighter version extended the program.
In May 2005, Boeing announced its intent to form a joint venture, United Launch Alliance with its competitor Lockheed Martin. The new venture will be the largest provider of rocket launch services to the US government. The joint venture gained regulatory approval and completed the formation on December 1, 2006.
On August 2, 2005 Boeing sold its Rocketdyne rocket engine division to Pratt & Whitney. On May 1 2006, Boeing announced that it had reached a definitive agreement to purchase Dallas, Texas-based Aviall, Inc. for $1.7 billion and retain $350 million in debt. Aviall, Inc. and its subsidiaries, Aviall Services, Inc. and ILS formed a wholly owned subsidiary of Boeing Commercial Aviation Services (BCAS).
On August 18, 2007, NASA announced that Boeing would be the manufacturing contractor for the liquid-fueled upper stage of the Ares I rocket. The stage, based on both Apollo-Saturn and Space Shuttle technologies, will be constructed at NASA's Michoud Assembly Facility near New Orleans, the same site where Boeing constructed the massive S-IC stage of the Saturn V rocket in the 1960s.
In December 2003, the Pentagon announced the project was to be frozen while an investigation of allegations of corruption by one of its former procurement staffers, Darleen Druyun (who had moved to Boeing in January) was begun. The fallout of this resulted in the resignation of Boeing CEO Philip M. Condit and the termination of CFO Michael M. Sears. Harry Stonecipher, former McDonnell Douglas CEO and Boeing COO, replaced Condit on an interim basis.
Druyun pleaded guilty to inflating the price of the contract to favor her future employer and to passing information on the competing Airbus A330 MRTT bid (from EADS). In October 2004, she was sentenced to nine months in jail for corruption, fined $5,000, given three years of supervised release and 150 hours of community service.
In March 2005, the Boeing board forced President and CEO Harry Stonecipher to resign. Boeing said an internal investigation revealed a "consensual" relationship between Stonecipher and a female executive that was "inconsistent with Boeing's Code of Conduct" and "would impair his ability to lead the company". James A. Bell served as interim CEO (in addition to his normal duties as Boeing’s CFO) until the appointment of Jim McNerney as the new Chairman, President, and CEO on June 30, 2005.
In July 2003, Boeing was penalized, with the Pentagon stripping $1 billion worth of contracts away from the company and awarding them to Lockheed Martin. Furthermore, the company was forbidden to bid for rocket contracts for a twenty-month period, which expired in March 2005.
In early September 2005, it was reported that Boeing was negotiating a settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice in which it would pay up to $500 million to cover this and the Darleen Druyun scandal.
Boeing's late delivery of a tanker to Japan in 2007 incurred a penalty "well under $5 million" according to Boeing. Boeing delivered the second aircraft to Japan in March 2008 two days early and the next two aircraft are also expected to be delivered early.
Until the late 70s the US had an almost de facto monopoly in the Large Civil Aircraft (LCA) sector. The Airbus consortium (created in 1969) started competing effectively in the 80s. At that stage the US became concerned about the European competition and the alleged subsidies paid by the European governments for the developments of the early models of the Airbus family. This became a major issue of contention, as the European side was equally concerned by subsidies accruing to US LCA manufacturers through NASA and Defense programs.
The EU and the US started bilateral negotiations for the limitation of government subsidies to the LCA sector in the late 1980s. Negotiations were concluded in 1992 with the signature of the EC-US Agreement on Trade in Large Civil Aircraft which imposes disciplines on government support on both sides of the Atlantic which are significantly stricter than the relevant WTO rules: Notably, the Agreement regulates in detail the forms and limits of government support, prescribes transparency obligations and commits the parties to avoiding trade disputes.
In October 2004, Boeing filed a complaint at the World Trade Organization (WTO), claiming that Airbus had violated a 1992 bilateral accord when it received what Boeing deems as “unfair” subsidies from several European governments. Airbus retaliated by filing another complaint, contesting that Boeing had also violated the accord when it received tax breaks from the U.S. Government. Moreover, the E.U. also complained that the investment subsidies from Japanese airlines violated the accord.
However, in June 2005, Boeing and the United States government reopened the trade dispute with the WTO, claiming that Airbus had received illegal subsidies from European governments. Airbus has also retaliated against Boeing, reopening the dispute and also accusing Boeing of receiving subsidies from the US government.
Boeing has recently achieved several consecutive launches, beginning with the formal launch of the 787 for delivery to All Nippon Airways and Air New Zealand. Rollout of the first 787 occurred on July 8, 2007.
Boeing also received the launch contract from the US Navy for the P-8 Multimission Maritime Aircraft, an anti-submarine warfare patrol aircraft. Several orders for the Wedgetail AEW&C airplanes are expected as well.
Boeing has achieved above projected orders for its 787 Dreamliner, outselling the rival Airbus A350. A large blow to Airbus came as Emirates Airlines president Tim Clark stated that his airline must be convinced that the 250 to 290-seat A350 would not repeat the "misses" by Airbus in performance and delivery. Emirates has held off ordering either airplane as it tries to convince Boeing to build a larger version of the 787, the 787-10, which is the airline’s preferred option. Air Canada also dealt Airbus a blow by replacing its A330 and A340 fleet with 96 Boeing 777s and 787s.
Boeing officially announced in November 2005 that it would produce a larger variant of the 747, the 747-8, in two models, commencing with the Freighter model for two cargo carriers with firm orders for the aircraft. The second model, dubbed the Intercontinental, would be produced for passenger airlines that Boeing expected would place orders in the near future. Both models of the 747-8 would feature a lengthened fuselage, new, advanced engines and wings, and the incorporation of other technologies developed for the 787.
Boeing has also introduced new extended range versions of the 737. These include the 737-700ER and 737-900ER. The 737-900ER is the latest and will extend the range of the 737-900 to a similar range as the successful 737-800 with the capability to fly more passengers, due to the addition of two extra emergency exits.
The 777-200LR Worldliner embarked on a well-received global demonstration tour in the second half of 2005, showing off its capacity to fly farther than any other commercial aircraft. On November 10 2005, the 777-200LR set a world record for the longest non-stop flight. The plane, which departed from Hong Kong traveling to London, took a longer route, which included flying over the U.S. It flew 11,664 nautical miles (21,601km) during its 22-hour 42-minute flight.
Realizing that increasing numbers of passengers have become reliant on their computers to stay in touch, Boeing introduced Connexion by Boeing, a satellite based Internet connectivity service that promised air travelers unprecedented access to the World Wide Web. The company debuted the product to journalists in 2005, receiving generally favorable reviews. However, facing competition from cheaper options, such as cellular networks, it proved too difficult to sell to most airlines. In August 2006, after a short and unsuccessful search for a buyer for the business, Boeing chose to discontinue the service.
As with most concepts, these designs are only in the exploratory stage intended to help Boeing evaluate the potentials of such radical technologies.
The airline industry is responsible for about 11 percent of greenhouse gases emitted by the U.S. transportation sector. Boeing estimates that biofuels could reduce flight-related greenhouse-gas emissions by 60 to 80 percent. The solution would be blending algae fuels with existing jet fuel.
Boeing executives said the company is informally collaborating with leading Brazilian biofuels maker Tecbio, Aquaflow Bionomic of New Zealand and other fuel developers around the world. So far, Boeing has tested six fuels from these companies, and will probably have gone through 20 fuels "by the time we're done evaluating them." Boeing is joining other aviation-related members in the Algal Biomass Organization (ABO).
The two largest divisions are Boeing Commercial Airplanes and the Integrated Defense Systems. Integrated Defense Systems is Boeing's space and defense division.
Source: Boeing in Brief
Employment By Location
As of 6/30/2008 from Boeing Employment Numbers page
Employment by Group (Division)
As of 6/30/2008 from Boeing Employment Numbers page
Current Board of Directors
Chief executive officer
Chairman of the board