Boeing Plans to Relocate Its Headquarters to Virginia From Chicago

Boeing announced Thursday that it would move its headquarters to Arlington, Va., from Chicago, where it has been based for more than two decades.

The choice of Arlington, across the Potomac River from Washington, underscores the importance of the federal government and its regulatory bodies to Boeing, which is a leading military contractor as well as a major manufacturer of commercial aircraft. The company relocated its Defense, Space and Security unit to the Washington area from St. Louis in 2017.

“The region makes strategic sense for our global headquarters given its proximity to our customers and stakeholders, and its access to world-class engineering and technical talent,” Dave Calhoun, Boeing’s chief executive, said in a statement. The company, which did not give a timeline for its move, said it planned to establish a research and technology hub in Northern Virginia.

The move follows efforts by Boeing, the leading U.S. exporter, to reduce costs. The company sold a number of office parks, warehouses and unused land last year, including its commercial airplane headquarters in Seattle for $100 million.

Boeing has been trying to regain its footing after a series of crises. Its best-selling 737 Max passenger jet was grounded in 2019 after two of the planes crashed, killing 346 people. It fired Dennis Muilenburg as chief executive that year, saying he had failed to stabilize the company. Boeing later reached a $2.5 billion settlement with the Justice Department over the 737 Max debacle.

Last week, the company reported a $1.5 billion loss for the first quarter after experiencing weak revenue, higher costs and delays.

“While the first quarter of 2022 brought new challenges for our world, industry and business, I am proud of our team and the steady progress we’re making toward our key commitments,” Mr. Calhoun said in a statement about the financial loss.

Boeing moved into a 36-floor skyscraper in Chicago in 2001 after the city, Cook County and the State of Illinois promised $60 million in tax breaks and incentives over 20 years.

In its statement on Thursday, Boeing said it would maintain a “significant presence” in Chicago and the surrounding region, adding that changes arising from the pandemic allowed the company to reduce its office needs and invest in manufacturing and engineering instead.

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