The Boeing Company
Formerly
  • Pacific Aero Products Co. (1916‍–‍1917)
  • Boeing Airplane Company (1917‍–‍1961)[1][2]
Company typePublic
IndustryAerospace
FoundedJuly 15, 1916; 107 years ago (1916-07-15) in Seattle
FounderWilliam E. Boeing
Headquarters,
U.S.
Area served
Worldwide
Key people
Production output
  • Increase 528 commercial aircraft,
  • Decrease 157 military aircraft,
  • Steady 5 satellites (2023)
RevenueIncrease US$77.79 billion (2023)
Negative increase US$−773 million (2023)
Negative increase US$−2.24 billion (2023)
Total assetsDecrease US$137.01 billion (2023)
Total equityDecrease US$−17.23 billion (2023)
Number of employees
Increase 170,688 (2023)
Divisions
Subsidiaries
Websiteboeing.com
Footnotes / references
Financials as of December 31, 2023.
References:[3][4]

The Boeing Company (/ˈbɪŋ/) is an American multinational corporation that designs, manufactures, and sells airplanes, rotorcraft, rockets, satellites, and missiles worldwide.[5] The company also provides leasing and product support services. Boeing is among the largest global aerospace manufacturers; it is the fourth-largest defense contractor in the world based on 2022 revenue[6] and is the largest exporter in the United States by dollar value.[7] Boeing was founded by William Boeing in Seattle, Washington, on July 15, 1916.[8] The present corporation is the result of the merger of Boeing with McDonnell Douglas on August 1, 1997.

As of 2023, the Boeing Company's corporate headquarters is located in the Crystal City neighborhood of Arlington, Virginia.[9] The company is organized into three primary divisions: Boeing Commercial Airplanes (BCA), Boeing Defense, Space & Security (BDS) and Boeing Global Services (BGS). In 2021, Boeing recorded $62.3 billion in sales.[10] Boeing is ranked 54th on the Fortune 500 list (2020),[11] and ranked 121st on the Fortune Global 500 list (2020).[12]

History

Main article: History of Boeing

Origins

The Boeing Company was started in 1916, when American lumber industrialist William E. Boeing founded Pacific Aero Products Company in Seattle, Washington. Shortly before doing so, he and Conrad Westervelt created the "B&W" seaplane.[13] In 1917, the organization was renamed Boeing Airplane Company, with William Boeing forming Boeing Airplane & Transport Corporation in 1928.[14] In 1929, the company was renamed United Aircraft and Transport Corporation, followed by the acquisition of several aircraft makers such as Avion, Chance Vought, Sikorsky Aviation, Stearman Aircraft, Pratt & Whitney, and Hamilton Metalplane.[2]

In 1931, the group merged its four smaller airlines into United Airlines. In 1934, aircraft manufacturing was required to be separate from air transportation.[15] Therefore, Boeing Airplane Company became one of three major groups to arise from the dissolution of United Aircraft and Transport; the other two entities were United Aircraft (later United Technologies) and United Airlines.[2][15]

In 1960, the company bought Vertol Aircraft Corporation, which at the time, was the biggest independent manufacturer of helicopters.[16] During the 1960s and 1970s, the company diversified into industries such as outer space travel, marine craft, agriculture, energy production and transit systems.[2]

Sea Launch

In 1995, Boeing partnered with Russian, Ukrainian, and Anglo-Norwegian organizations to create Sea Launch, a company providing commercial launch services sending satellites to geostationary orbit from floating platforms.[17] In 2000, Boeing acquired the satellite segment of Hughes Electronics.[2][18]

Merger with McDonnell Douglas

In December 1996, Boeing announced its intention to merge with McDonnell Douglas, which, following regulatory approval, was completed on August 4, 1997.[19] The delay was caused by objections from the European Commission, which ultimately placed three conditions on the merger: exclusivity agreements with three US airlines would be terminated, separate accounts would be maintained for the McDonnell-Douglas civil aircraft business, and some defense patents were to be made available to competitors.[20] In 2020, Quartz reported that after the merger there was a "clash of corporate cultures, where Boeing's engineers and McDonnell Douglas's bean-counters went head-to-head", which the latter won, and that this may have contributed to the events leading up to the 737 MAX crash crisis.[21]

Corporate headquarters moves

Boeing's corporate headquarters moved from Seattle to Chicago in 2001.[22] In 2018, the company opened its first factory in Europe at Sheffield, UK, reinforced by a research partnership with the University of Sheffield.[23]

In May 2020, the company cut over 12,000 jobs due to the drop in air travel during the COVID-19 pandemic with plans for a total 10% cut of its workforce or approximately 16,000 positions.[24] In July 2020, Boeing reported a loss of $2.4 billion as a result of the pandemic and the Boeing 737 MAX groundings, and that it was in response planning to make more job and production cuts.[25] On August 18, 2020, CEO Dave Calhoun announced further job cuts;[26] on October 28, 2020, nearly 30,000 employees were laid off, as the airplane manufacturer was increasingly losing money due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[27]

In May 2022, Boeing announced plans to move its global headquarters from Chicago to Arlington, Virginia, a suburb of Washington, D.C. The company said that this decision was made in part to concentrate on its defense work with "proximity to our customers and stakeholders."[28][29] After the February 2024 Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 737 MAX door-plug near-catastrophe and other incidents, all under increased scrutiny by federal regulators, media and air travelers, one shareholder proposed relocating the corporate headquarters back to the Seattle area in hopes of getting engineering and quality control teams on-site access to key decision-makers. Boeing's board soundly dismissed the attempt.[30][31]

In February 2023, Boeing announced plans for laying off approximately 2,000 of its workers from finances and human resources.[32]

In May 2023, Boeing acquired autonomous eVTOL air taxi startup Wisk Aero.[33]

Divisions

Assembly of a 737 in the Boeing Renton Factory

The company's three divisions are: Commercial Airplanes; Defense, Space & Security; and Global Services.[34]

Safety defects and airplane crashes

See also: Boeing manufacturing issues

Boeing 737 MAX crashes and groundings

Main article: Boeing 737 MAX groundings

In 2018 and 2019, two Boeing 737 MAX narrow-body passenger airplanes crashed, leaving 346 people dead and no survivors. In response, aviation regulators and airlines around the world grounded all 737 MAX airliners.[35] A total of 387 aircraft were grounded.[36] Boeing's reputation, business, and financial rating suffered after the groundings, as Boeing's strategy, governance, and focus on profits and cost efficiency were questioned.[37][38][39] In 2022, Netflix released an exposé, Downfall: The Case Against Boeing, claiming Boeing's corporate merger with McDonnell Douglas led to the crashes through a disintegration of workplace morale.[40][41][42][43][44]

In June 2020, the Federal Aviation Administration found several 737 MAX defects that Boeing deferred to fix, in violation of regulations.[45] In September 2020, the U.S. House of Representatives concluded its own investigation and cited numerous instances where Boeing dismissed employee concerns with a 737 MAX flight stabilizing feature (MCAS) that caused the two fatal accidents, prioritized deadline and budget constraints over safety, and lacked transparency in disclosing essential information to the FAA. It further found that the assumption that simulator training would not be necessary had "diminished safety, minimized the value of pilot training, and inhibited technical design improvements".[46] On January 7, 2021, Boeing settled to pay over $2.5 billion after being charged with fraud over the company's hiding of information from the safety regulators: a criminal monetary penalty of $243.6 million, $1.77 billion of damages to airline customers, and a $500 million crash-victim beneficiaries fund.[47]

In September 2022, Boeing was ordered to pay a further $200 million over charges of misleading investors about safety issues related to these crashes.[48] In March 2023, Boeing disputed in court filings that the victims of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 (the 2019 crash) experienced any pain and suffering in the final six minutes as the plane was nosediving into the ground, citing "speed of sound" as a defence. Boeing's claim was described as "preposterous" by Huffington Post:[49]

Passengers aboard the plane, the plaintiffs argued in court, "undeniably suffered horrific emotional distress, pain and suffering, and physical impact/injury while they endured extreme G-forces, braced for impact, knew the airplane was malfunctioning, and ultimately plummeted nose-down to the ground at terrifying speed."

While the investigations into the crashes of the 737 MAX were proceeding, the Boeing 777X, the company's largest capacity twin jet and the largest ever built, made its maiden flight on January 25, 2020,[50] but also experienced problems. Following an incident during flight testing in 2021, the estimated first delivery of the aircraft was delayed until 2024.[51] After further technical problems were discovered in the aircraft in 2022, the release was delayed again until 2025, six years after the original date.[52][53]

Alaska Airlines Flight 1282

Main article: Alaska Airlines Flight 1282

On January 5, 2024, on Alaska Airlines Flight 1282, a door plug blowout[54][55] occurred on a 737 MAX 9 jetliner after the plane had reached just over 16,000 feet, leaving a door-sized hole in the fuselage and the aircraft made an emergency landing at Portland International Airport successfully with several people onboard injured, although all had subsequently been "medically cleared".[56] The FAA mandated immediate inspections of all 737 MAX 9s fitted with door plugs, thereby grounding 171 aircraft.[57][58][59] United Airlines found loose bolts on jets grounded by the FAA, raising questions about possible systematic problems with the Boeing 737 MAX 9.[60] The FAA announced on January 12 that it was expanding its scrutiny of Boeing, with a production audit of the 737 MAX 9.[61] On February 6, the National Transportation Safety Board released a preliminary report indicating that four bolts used to secure the panel had been removed, and appeared not to have been replaced, at Boeing’s factory in Renton, Washington.[62]

In March 2024, the Justice Department opened a criminal investigation into the Alaska Airlines blowout.[63] In March 2024, CEO Dave Calhoun and board chairman Larry Kellner both announced they would be stepping down from their positions.[64]

Environmental record

In 2006, the UCLA Center for Environmental Risk Reduction released a study showing that Boeing's Santa Susana Field Laboratory, a site that was a former Rocketdyne test and development site in the Simi Hills of eastern Ventura County in Southern California, had been contaminated by Rocketdyne with toxic and radioactive waste. Boeing agreed to a cleanup agreement with the EPA in 2017.[65] Clean-up studies and lawsuits are in progress.[66]

On July 19, 2022, Boeing announced a renewed partnership with Mitsubishi to innovate carbon-neutral and sustainable solutions.[67]

Jet biofuels

Main articles: Aviation biofuel and Algae fuel

Boeing Everett Factory, the assembly facility for most of the company's wide-body aircraft

The airline industry is responsible for about 11% of greenhouse gases emitted by the U.S. transportation sector.[68] Aviation's share of the greenhouse gas emissions was poised to grow, as air travel increases and ground vehicles use more alternative fuels like ethanol and biodiesel.[68] Boeing estimates that biofuels could reduce flight-related greenhouse-gas emissions by 60 to 80%.[68] The solution blends algae fuels with existing jet fuel.[68]

Boeing executives said the company was collaborating with Brazilian biofuels maker Tecbio, Aquaflow Bionomic of New Zealand, and other fuel developers around the world. As of 2007, Boeing had tested six fuels from these companies, and expected to test 20 fuels "by the time we're done evaluating them".[68] Boeing also joined other aviation-related members in the Algal Biomass Organization (ABO) in June 2008.[69]

Air New Zealand and Boeing are researching the jatropha plant to see if it is a sustainable alternative to conventional fuel.[70] A two-hour test flight using a 50–50 mixture of the new biofuel with Jet A-1 in a Rolls-Royce RB-211 engine of a 747–400 was completed on December 30, 2008.[71] The engine was then removed to be studied to identify any differences between the Jatropha blend and regular Jet A1. No effects on performances were found.[71]

On August 31, 2010, Boeing worked with the U.S. Air Force to test the Boeing C-17 running on 50% JP-8, 25% hydro-treated renewable jet fuel, and 25% of Fischer–Tropsch fuel with successful results.[72]

Electric propulsion

For NASA's N+3 future airliner program, Boeing has determined that hybrid electric engine technology is by far the best choice for its subsonic design. Hybrid electric propulsion has the potential to shorten takeoff distance and reduce noise. Boeing created a team to study electric propulsion in future generation of subsonic commercial aircraft. SUGAR for Subsonic Ultra Green Aircraft Research includes BR&T, Boeing Commercial Airplanes, General Electric, and Georgia Tech. There are five main concepts the team is reviewing. SUGAR-Free and Refined SUGAR, are two concepts based on conventional aircraft similar to the 737. SUGAR High and SUGAR Volt, are both high-span, strut-based wing concepts. The final concept is SUGAR Ray, which is a wing-body hybrid. The SUGAR Volt concept has resulted in a drop in fuel burn by more than 70 percent and a reduction of total energy use by 55%. This reduction is the result of adding an electric battery gas turbine hybrid propulsion system.[73]

Sustainability

Partnership in Middle East, Turkey, and Africa

As of November 2023, Boeing has partnered with key stakeholders to promote sustainability in the Middle East, Turkey, and Africa. Their goal is to reach net zero emissions by 2050. The partnerships is focused on innovation, continuous improvement of operational efficiency, and sustainable aviation fuels (SAF). SAF can reduce lifecycle carbon dioxide by 85%, and provides a unique opportunity for the airline company to rely more on renewable resources.[74]

Santa Susana restoration

The former Santa Susana Field Laboratory is a 2,850-acre rocket engine and energy test center. Just about every major U.S. space program owes part of its success to the field lab in California's Simi Hills.[75] Boeing bought the land and secured the future of nearly 2,400 acres as permanent open space habitat to benefit wildlife and the community.[76]

Political contributions, federal contracts, advocacy

Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg and US President Donald Trump at the 787-10 Dreamliner rollout ceremony in 2017

In 2008 and 2009, Boeing was second on the list of Top 100 US Federal Contractors, with contracts totaling US$22 billion and US$23 billion respectively.[77][78] Between 1995 and early 2021, the company agreed to pay US$4.3 billion to settle 84 instances of misconduct, including US$615 million in 2006 in relation to illegal hiring of government officials and improper use of proprietary information.[79][80][81]

Boeing secured the highest-ever tax breaks at the state level in 2013.[82]

Boeing's spent US$16.9 million on lobbying expenditures in 2009.[83][84] In the 2008 presidential election, Barack Obama "was by far the biggest recipient of campaign contributions from Boeing employees and executives, hauling in US$197,000 – five times as much as John McCain, and more than the top eight Republicans combined".[85]

Boeing has a corporate citizenship program centered on charitable contributions in five areas: education, health, human services, environment, the arts, culture, and civic engagement.[86] In 2011, Boeing spent US$147.3 million in these areas through charitable grants and business sponsorships.[87] In February 2012, Boeing Global Corporate Citizenship partnered with the Insight Labs to develop a new model for foundations to more effectively lead the sectors they serve.[88]

The company is a member of the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition, a Washington D.C.-based coalition of more than 400 major companies and NGOs that advocate a larger International Affairs Budget, which funds American diplomatic and development efforts abroad.[89] A series of U.S. diplomatic cables show how U.S. diplomats and senior politicians intervene on behalf of Boeing to help boost the company's sales.[90]

In 2007 and 2008, the company benefited from over US$10 billion of long-term loan guarantees, helping finance the purchase of their commercial aircraft in countries including Brazil, Canada, Ireland, and the United Arab Emirates, from the Export-Import Bank of the United States, some 65% of the total loan guarantees the bank made in the period.[91]

Criticism

In December 2011, the non-partisan organization Public Campaign criticized Boeing for spending US$52.29 million on lobbying and not paying taxes during 2008–2010, instead getting US$178 million in tax rebates, despite making a profit of US$9.7 billion, laying off 14,862 workers since 2008, and increasing executive pay by 31% to US$41.9 million in 2010 for its top five executives.[92]

Boeing has been accused of unethical practices (in violation of the Procurement Integrity Act) while attempting to submit a revised bid to NASA for their lunar landing project.[93]

War profiteering

The firm has been criticized for supplying and profiting from wars, including the war in Yemen where its missiles were found to be used for indiscriminate attacks, killing many civilians.[94][95]

During the 2023 Israel–Hamas war, demonstrations sought to block shipments of weapons for the Israel Defense Forces at Boeing facilities in St. Charles, Missouri,[96] Tukwila, Washington,[97] and Gresham, Oregon.[98] Students at Florida State University,[99] University of Washington,[100] Saint Louis University, University of Missouri–St. Louis, and Washington University in St. Louis[101] called for their institutions to break partnerships with Boeing. Students on hunger strike at Brown University named Boeing among the list of corporations to divest from.[102] The company rushed 1,000 small diameter bombs for the first week of Israeli air attacks on Gaza that were shipped from a US Air Force base by Israeli Air Force.[103] Research estimates that Boeing has made between $50 billion to $100 billion from weapon sales to Israel.[98]

In March 2024, five protesters in solidarity with the Palestinian cause were arrested on felony charges after blocking entrances to a Boeing facility in Heath, Ohio.[104]

Financials

Sales by business (2023)[105]
Business Sales in billion $ share
Commercial Airplanes 33.9 43.6%
Defense, Space and Security 24.9 32.1%
Global Services 19.1 24.6%
Unallocated Items, Eliminations and Other -0.2 -0.2%
Sales by region (2023)[105]
Region Sales in billion $ share
United States 45.4 58.3%
Europe 10.5 13.5%
Asia 10.0 12.9%
Middle East 6.6 8.5%
Oceania 1.7 2.1%
Latin America, Caribbean and Other 1.5 2.0%
Canada 1.3 1.6%
Africa 0.8 1.1%
Global 0.03 0.0%

The key trends of Boeing are (as at the financial year ending December 31):[106]

Year Revenue in billion US$[107] Net Income in billion US$ Price per Share
(US$)[citation needed]
Employees Refs
2005 53.6 2.5 49.94 [108]
2006 61.5 2.2 57.26 [109]
2007 66.3 4.0 68.72 [110]
2008 60.9 2.6 49.09 [111]
2009 68.2 1.3 34.57 [112]
2010 64.3 3.2 52.13 [113]
2011 68.7 4.0 56.29 [114]
2012 81.6 3.9 60.6 [115]
2013 86.6 4.5 87.44 168,400 [116]
2014 90.7 5.4 110.97 165,500 [117]
2015 96.1 5.1 127.13 161,400 [118]
2016 94.5 4.8 121.56 150,500 [119]
2017 93.3 8.1 202.99 140,800 [120]
2018 101 10.4 331.9 153,000 [121]
2019 76.5 –0.63 358.8 161,000 [122]
2020 58.1 –11.9 196.87 141,014 [123]
2021 62.2 –4.2 224.54 140,000 [124]
2022 66.6 –5.1 166.18 156,000 [125]
2023 77.7 –2.2 212.07 171,000 [4]

Between 2010 and 2018, Boeing increased its operating cash flow from $3 to $15.3 billion, sustaining its share price, by negotiating advance payments from customers and delaying payments to its suppliers. This strategy is sustainable only as long as orders are good and delivery rates are increasing.[126]

From 2013 to 2019, Boeing spent over $60 billion on dividends and stock buybacks, twice as much as the development costs of the 787.[127]

In 2020, Boeing's second quarter revenue was $11.8 billion as a result of the pandemic slump. Due to higher sales in other divisions and an influx in deliveries of commercial jetliners in 2021, second quarter revenue increased by 44%, reaching nearly $17 billion.[128]

Employment numbers

The company's employment totals are listed below.

Approximately 1.5% of Boeing employees are in the Technical Fellowship program, a program through which Boeing's top engineers and scientists set technical direction for the company.[130] The average salary at Boeing is $76,784, reported by former employees.[131]

Corporate governance

In 2022, Rory Kennedy made a documentary film, Downfall: The Case Against Boeing, streamed by Netflix.[40] She said about the 21st-century history of Boeing "There were many decades when Boeing did extraordinary things by focusing on excellence and safety and ingenuity. Those three virtues were seen as the key to profit. It could work, and beautifully. And then they were taken over by a group that decided Wall Street was the end-all, be-all."[41]

On May 5, 2022, Boeing announced that it would be moving its headquarters from Chicago to Arlington, Virginia in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. Additionally, it plans to add a research and technology center in Northern Virginia.[132]

Board

As of 2022, Boeing is headed by a President who also serves as the chief executive officer. The roles of chair of the board and CEO were separated in October 2019.[133]

Chair of the Board
Name Background
Steve Mollenkopf Former CEO, Qualcomm
Board of Directors
Name Background
Robert A. Bradway Chair and CEO, Amgen
Dave Calhoun[a] President and CEO, The Boeing Company
Lynne M. Doughttie Former U.S. chair and CEO, KPMG
Edmund Giambastiani Former Vice-chair, U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff
Former Supreme Allied Commander Transformation, NATO
Lynn Good Chair, President and CEO, Duke Energy
Stayce Harris Former United Airlines Pilot
Former Inspector General, U.S. Air Force
Akhil Johri Former Executive Vice-president and CFO, United Technologies Corporation
David L. Joyce Former President and CEO, GE Aviation
Former Vice-chair, General Electric Company
Larry Kellner[b] Former chair and CEO, Continental Airlines
John M. Richardson Former Chief of Naval Operations, U.S. Navy
Former Director of the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program, U.S. Navy
Ron Williams Former chair, President and CEO, Aetna

Past leadership

Chief Executive Officer President Chairman
N/A Position not created N/A Position not created 1916–1934 William Boeing
1922–1925 Edgar Gott[134]
1926–1933 Philip G. Johnson
1933–1939 Claire Egtvedt[135] 1933–1939 Claire Egtvedt 1934–1968 Claire Egtvedt
1939–1944 Philip G. Johnson 1939–1944 Philip G. Johnson
1944–1945 Claire Egtvedt 1944–1945 Claire Egtvedt
1945–1968 William M. Allen 1945–1968 William M. Allen
1969–1986 Thornton Wilson 1968–1972 Thornton Wilson 1968–1972 William M. Allen
1972–1985 Malcolm T. Stamper 1972–1987 Thornton Wilson
1986–1996 Frank Shrontz[136] 1985–1996 Frank Shrontz 1985–1996 Frank Shrontz
1996–2003 Philip M. Condit 1996–1997 Philip M. Condit 1997–2003 Philip M. Condit
2003–2005 Harry Stonecipher 1997–2005 Harry Stonecipher 2003–2005 Lewis E. Platt
2005–2015 James McNerney 2005–2013 James McNerney 2005–2016 James McNerney
2015–2019 Dennis Muilenburg[137] 2013–2019 Dennis Muilenburg[138] 2016–2019 Dennis Muilenburg
2019 Dave Calhoun
2020–2024 Dave Calhoun[a] 2020–2024 Dave Calhoun[a] 2019–2024 Lawrence Kellner
2024–present Steve Mollenkopf

See also

Notes

  1. ^ a b c d Calhoun has announced that he will retire at the end of 2024.
  2. ^ Kellner has announced that he will not stand for re-election at the next Annual Shareholder meeting.

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Further reading