The Boeing Company (pronounced /ˈboʊ.ɪŋ/ BOH-ing) is an American multinational aerospace and defense corporation. Founded in 1916 by William E. Boeing in Seattle, Washington, the company has expanded over the years, and merged with McDonnell Douglas in 1997. Boeing moved its corporate headquarters from Seattle to Chicago, Illinois, in 2001.
In March 1910, William E. Boeing bought Heath's shipyard in Seattle on the Duwamish River, which later became his first airplane factory. Boeing was incorporated in Seattle by William Boeing, on July 15, 1916, as "Pacific Aero Products Co.". Boeing, who studied at Yale University, 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. On July 27, 1929, the 12-passenger Boeing 80 biplane made its first flight. With three engines, it was Boeing's first plane built with the sole intention of being a passenger transport. An upgraded version, the 80A, carrying eighteen passengers, made its first flight in September 1929.
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.
As passenger air traffic increased, competition was harder, mainly from Airbus, a European newcomer in commercial airliner manufacturing. Boeing had to offer new aircraft, and developed the single-aisle 757, the larger, twin-aisle 767, and upgraded versions of the 737.
After several decades of success, Boeing lost ground to Airbus and subsequently lost its lead in the airliner market 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 attacks and the subsequent weak economy and increase in fuel prices. With delays to Airbus' A380 program several airlines threatened to switch their A380 orders to Boeing's new 747 version, 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 then gained significant orders when Airbus promised an entirely new design. The 787 has encountered delays in coming to production, with the first flight not occurring until late 2009, more than two years late. Production will be increased to 10 Boeing 787s per month by 2013.
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 (21,601 km) during its 22-hour 42-minute...