Boeing Co., a leading defense contractor and one of the world's two dominant manufacturers of airline planes, is expected to move its headquarters from Chicago to the Washington, DC, area, according to two people familiar with the matter. The decision could be announced as soon as Thursday, according to one of the people, the AP reports. Both spoke on condition of anonymity. Boeing did not immediately comment, but a Virginia official confirmed the company's plan, per the Hill. The decision was first reported by the Wall Street Journal. The news comes several years after Amazon selected Arlington as the site for a second headquarters.
A move to Arlington, Virginia, would put Boeing executives close to officials for their key customer, the Pentagon, and the Federal Aviation Administration, which certifies Boeing passenger planes. Boeing's roots are in the Seattle area, and it has assembly plants in Washington state and South Carolina. The company moved its headquarters to Chicago in 2001 after an unusually public search that also considered Dallas and Denver. Boeing had 142,000 employees at the end of 2021, including 12% based outside the US, according to a regulatory filing. The filing did not say how many work in Chicago.
"They won't get pushback since their Chicago workforce and industry presence is minimal," said Richard Aboulafia, an analyst with consultant AeroDynamic Advisory. "Since DC is home to their biggest single customer, it makes some sense, but it's a much less impressive move than going back to Seattle." The move would mark a win for Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin, a Republican who campaigned last year in part on a promise to bring new jobs to the state. Youngkin, who retired in 2020 as co-CEO of private equity giant the Carlyle Group, was personally involved in discussions about the move and had a prior business relationship with Boeing CEO David Calhoun, according to one of the people familiar with the matter.
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