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 20,000 feet (6,100 m). — 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 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.
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.
In September 2001, Boeing moved its corporate headquarters from Seattle to Chicago.
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.
Recent Product Development
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 launched the 777 Freighter in May 2005 with an order from Air France. The freighter variant is based on the -200LR. Other customers include FedEx, Emirates Airline, and Air Atlanta Icelandic. Boeing has achieved above projected orders for its 787 Dreamliner, outselling the rival Airbus A350.
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.
Employment By Location
Other Locations 23,002
Total Company 163,851