Entries in Boeing (24)


Boeing Raising Dividend, Resuming Stock Repurchases

Stephen Morton/Bloomberg via Getty Images(CHICAGO) -- Boeing said Monday it plans to increase its quarterly dividend by 10 percent to 48.5 cents per share and that it will also resume its $7 billion share buyback program.

Boeing Chairman, President and CEO Jim McNerney said in a statement Monday that the company's recent positive performance permits the Chicago-based company to redeploy cash back to its shareholders.

"Strong cash generation, consistently solid core operating performance and a positive growth outlook enable us to take these steps to deliver value for our shareholders," McNerney said. "As returns accelerate on the investments we made in innovative new products, we plan to continue our balanced cash deployment strategy, increasing returns to shareholders, investing in our core businesses and our workforce, and maintaining a strong balance sheet with healthy credit ratings."

The company's board of directors initially authorized the repurchase program in October 2007.  Now, Boeing says that after its fourth quarter earnings announcement in January 2013, shares can be repurchased. The buyback program is expected to use the remaining $3.6 billion left from its original authorization.

Boeing says the dividend is payable March 8, 2013 to shareholders of record as of Feb. 15, 2013.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


United Hopes to Improve Flying Experience with Dreamliner

Matt Hosford/ABC News(NEW YORK) -- It's the airplane designed to bring back some of the fun in flight.

Boeing's 787 Dreamliner is finally making its domestic debut this holiday season. It's the passenger jet with swooping wings and a fuselage made primarily of plastic.

"The airplane, in terms of what it's like to fly, is revolutionary," said Capt. Jim Starley, managing director of flight operations for United Airlines.

Boeing has sold more than 800 of the planes around the world, but United is the first U.S. airline to fly the Dreamliner. Service began this month.

"The feeling of space is enormous," said Jeff Smisek, United's CEO.

Airlines are buying the new planes because they're cheaper to fly and more efficient, but they're going to sell would-be passengers on feature comforts such as the air itself.

The Dreamliner's cabin has more oxygen and it's cleaner and less dry than current plane air. The jets also have large storage bins, which, Boeing says, can fit four suitcases.

Because the plane is made of plastic, it is more flexible so air pressure inside the plane can be kept higher. The maker says the improvement in air pressure leads to less jet lag, as well as less dry mouth and skin for passengers.

Blake Emery, the director of differentiation strategy for Boeing, said the Dreamliner offers "significant" changes from today's flying experience.

"The increase in humidity, the pressurization of the cabin, the additional filtration system we put in," Emery said. "It's a very different experience than today's airplanes."

The windows have also changed -- they are a third bigger on the new 787s.

"I can see the horizon from my seat," Larry Coughlin, director of 787 manufacturing for Boeing, said from his aisle seat.

The windows, Emery said, have added controls, with dimming features and tinting so that a passenger will "never lose connection with the outside."

The entrance was not left out of the redesign -- now larger to give passengers the feeling of spaciousness when stepping onboard.

A light show, integrated into the architecture of the cabin, was added on board with different colors for takeoff, cruising, and food. There is a palette of colors to create mood: blue lights for takeoff resembling the open sky and a warmer amber tone for meal service.

"So we go into the warm colors, like candlelight," said Mark Larson, the technical manager for the Dreamliner Gallery at Boeing.

On the flight deck, pilots say the 787 carries the next level of safety.

"It's absolutely a generational step," Starley said.

A security camera shows pilots who is outside the cockpit door. Advanced radar detects potential mid-air collisions miles away and warns the crew. A GPS system can land the Dreamliner on its own, in zero visibility.

Boeing says the plane is so advanced it is moving aviation to the next level -- more efficient and more comfortable than it has been.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Lockheed Martin, Boeing Settle F-22 Fighter Wrongful Death Suit

U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Kasey Close(NEW YORK) -- Defense contracting giants Lockheed Martin and Boeing have settled a wrongful death lawsuit leveled against them by the widow of an F-22 fighter pilot killed in a crash shortly after his plane malfunctioned, a Boeing spokesperson said.

The settlement, first reported by Aviation Week, is the culmination of a suit filed in March against Lockheed Martin, Boeing and other major defense contractors involved in the plane's production by Anna Haney, the widow of Capt. Jeff Haney. Anna Haney accused the contractors of knowingly providing the Air Force a "dangerous" and "defective" aircraft.

"The matter has settled and the settlement terms are confidential," a Boeing spokesperson told ABC News. The spokesperson declined to comment further.

Capt. Haney, father of two young girls, had just completed a routine training mission in Alaska in November 2010 when his F-22 malfunctioned and cut off his oxygen. The plane went into a dive and, about a minute later, slammed into the winter wilderness at faster than the speed of sound.

After a months-long investigation, the Air Force released a report claiming, "by clear and convincing evidence" that Haney was to blame for the crash because he was essentially too distracted by his inability to breathe to fly the plane properly.

The Air Force said they did not believe Haney was unconscious due to lack of oxygen at any point in his ordeal -- a claim strongly disputed by his family and questioned by other F-22 pilots, aviation experts and the Pentagon's own Inspector General, who has launched a rare review of the Air Force investigation. Haney's family said it was more likely he had passed out due to lack of oxygen at least part of the time and, therefore, could not be held responsible for the crash.

"I'd like to think it's easier to blame Jeff. He's not here to defend himself," Jennifer Haney, Capt. Jeff Haney's sister and family spokesperson, told ABC News in an exclusive interview in May. "To them, Jeff was a number, it feels like sometimes. But those jets are worth a lot of money."

Jeff Haney's wife, Anna, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Lockheed Martin and other contractors involved in making the plane in March, charging that they were allowed full "latitude" in the details of the plane's design and were therefore responsible for the mishap that took Haney's life.

Lockheed Martin said at the time the lawsuit was filed that while Jeff Haney's death was a tragedy, the company disagreed with his widow's claims and would fight them in court. A Lockheed Martin spokesperson did not immediately respond to requests for comment on this report.

The F-22 Raptor, America's most expensive fighter jet at $420 million-a-piece, was the subject of an ABC News Nightline investigation after on more than two dozen occasions pilots reported experiencing the symptoms of oxygen deprivation in mid-air. In one instance, a pilot apparently became so disoriented that he flew down and skimmed treetops before righting the aircraft and saving himself.

The Air Force recently claimed to have solved the potentially deadly F-22 conundrum and maintains it was wholly separate from the malfunction that hit Haney's plane before his crash.

Despite going combat operational in late 2005, not one plane in the $79 billion fleet has been sent into combat. From Iraq and Afghanistan to last year's "no-fly zone" over Libya, the Air Force said the sophisticated stealth fighters simply weren't necessary.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


United Airlines Announces Order for 150 New Boeing Jets

United Continental Holdings(CHICAGO) -- United Airlines is ordering 150 brand new Boeing 737s worth $14 billion at list price, which is good news for workers in Washington State, where the planes are made.

The purchase includes 100 Boeing 737 MAX 9 and 50 737-900ERs, which are said to be 15 percent more fuel efficient than existing 757s in United's short range fleet.

“They're environmentally more responsible and they're very customer pleasing,” said United CEO Jeff Smisek at an event in Chicago.

The new planes, Smisek said, will allow the airline to phase out older, less efficient aircraft like the workhorse Boeing 757.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Union Workers' Bonuses Boost Economy

Stephen Morton/Bloomberg via Getty Images(DETROIT) -- At last: bonuses for ordinary Joes, not Wall Street wheeler-dealers. Union workers at GM, Ford, Chrysler and Boeing are seeing bonus checks of up to $7,000 each.

That money, in turn, is helping boost economies in Detroit, Seattle, Charleston and other cities. The payouts come on the heels of improved or record corporate profits.

GM, which went bankrupt in 2009, reported 2011 net income of $9.19 billion on Thursday, an all-time high for the company. Starting in March, part of that profit will go to 47,500 members of the United Auto Workers in checks of up to $7,000 each, according to the Detroit Free Press.

The Lansing State Journal says that 4,690 unionized hourly workers at GM's Lansing facilities will get a total bonus of $32.8 million, a strong boost to the capital city's economy.

Ford and Chrysler also are paying bonuses.

About 26,000 union workers got checks averaging $1,500 at Chrysler earlier this month. Ford, which reported a $20.2 billion profit last year, will pay its workers an average $2,450 starting in mid-March. Ford workers earlier received $3,750, profit-sharing for the first half of 2011.

The windfall might be enough to lift the economy of the Midwest, especially states such as Michigan, Ohio and Kentucky, which are home to union auto factories, economists say. States dependent on the auto industry have already been improving faster than the U.S. economy in general.

Federal Reserve Board data predict Michigan will outperform all other states economically for the next six months.

Donald Grimes, a University of Michigan research specialist who follows labor and the economy, said such performance is the flip-side of the great recession's auto bust. "This is a reversal of the first half of the 2000s, when Michigan and other auto states bore the brunt of the downturn," he told Bloomberg News. "Now, they're getting a bigger share of the recovery."

The bonuses are a dramatic change from the recent past. GM paid no bonuses whatsoever to its union workers from 2005 to 2010. In all but two of those years, Ford and Chrysler paid no bonus, according to Michigan's Center for automotive Research.

Boeing's net income in the fourth quarter improved 20 percent to almost $1.4 billion. Workers in Seattle and in Charleston, S.C., including members of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, got their bonuses before Christmas.

About 29,000 machinists in the Seattle-Tacoma region saw checks of $3,500 to $4,000 each. Economist Dick Conway told the Seattle Times the payments would inject $217.5 million into the local economy. In Charleston, bonus checks went to 4,500 Boeing workers.

Retailers, hoping to cash in, have introduced marketing programs aimed at newly prosperous workers. In Michigan, Art Van, the state's largest furniture store chain, has a special promotion aimed at GM workers.

There's plenty of pent-up demand for spending on wants, instead of needs, a store spokeswoman told Bloomberg News. "Many folks," she said, "are beginning to replace furniture, carpet and televisions."

Gary Chaison, a professor of industrial relations at Clark University in Worcester, Mass., calls the bonus payments a significant development nationally for labor-management relations.

"Over the past decade," he said, "workers in perhaps a third of contract negotiations did get bonuses, but of a different type: 'signing' bonuses of anywhere from $500 to $7,000 if they ratified collective agreements with wage freezes or cuts."

Profit-sharing bonuses of the kind being paid now by the Big Three are considerably rarer.

For most union workers in the United States, Chaison says, a traditional percentage increase is still the norm. The change at GM, Ford and Chrysler is significant because, "the auto makers and the UAW are the big-timers, when it comes to negotiation. They're the trend-setters."

"What happens in autos usually gets copied in heavy manufacturing in general," he said, "and then in smaller manufacturing."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Air Force One Returns to Its 'Birthplace'

JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images(EVERETT, Wash.) -- Air Force One makes a rare return Friday to the factory and airfield of its "birth," carrying President Obama to Paine Field in Everett, Wash., the home of U.S. plane maker Boeing.

The specially outfitted 747-200B was assembled and tested for flight in 1990 before entering official service under President George H.W. Bush, according to the company.

Its first flight on Sept. 6, 1990, took Bush from Washington, D.C., to Kansas, Florida and back to Washington.

“President Bush proudly gave some reporters a tour during the first flight, showing off features unimaginable on earlier aircraft: beds in the forward cabin, a fully-equipped hospital bay and a presidential bathroom with twin sinks and a full shower stall,” said ABC News’ Ann Compton, who was aboard the maiden voyage.

“Reporters were just glad to finally have first class-sized seats instead of narrow coach seats for long international flights,” she added.

The plane’s 4,000-square-feet include a conference-dining room, quarters for the president and two kitchens capable of churning out 100 meals at once, according to the company.

The aircraft also has top secret security and communications technologies and the ability to be refueled in flight, making it truly a traveling White House.  The government owns two of the planes -- tail numbers 28000 and 29000 -- rotating them in and out of service to allow for regular maintenance.

As for the colors, powder blue and white, they were selected by First lady Jacqueline Kennedy for the first presidential jet -- a Boeing 707 -- in 1962 and the color scheme stayed in place ever since.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Boeing Beats Out Lockheed for Missile Defense Contract

Stephen Morton/Bloomberg via Getty Images(HUNTSVILLE, Ala.) --  The Boeing Company will hold on to the seven-year contract worth about $3.5 billion for the primary U.S. shield against intercontinental ballistic missiles, Bloomberg reports.

Boeing beat out the world's largest defense contractor, Lockheed Martin, and has held the contract totaling up to $18 billion since 1998, according to Bloomberg.

The system, called the Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD), uses radars and other sensors, communications terminals, command facilities and a 20,000 mile fiber optic communications network "to defend the United States against long-range ballistic missile threats," according to a statement The Boeing Company.

Dennis Muilenburg, president and CEO of Boeing Defense, Space & Security, said the selection was based upon a two-year proposal process.  According to Bloomberg, the award likely went to Boeing as a result of cost consideration.  For the first time, this contract will require that contractors be held financially responsible for poor quality parts.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


NLRB Dismisses South Carolina Labor Suit Against Boeing

Stephen Morton/Bloomberg via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The National Labor Relations Board announced Friday that it has dismissed its high-profile labor complaint against Boeing, Inc., after the complainant in the case, the Machinists Union, ratified a massive contract with the airplane manufacturing giant Thursday night.

The labor complaint has been the subject of national outrage and has served as a litmus test of sorts for the GOP presidential candidates, who have used the labor board as an example of what they call President Obama’s “job-killing” policies.

The complaint charged that Boeing participated in unfair labor practices after it moved part of the production of its 787 Dreamliner airplane from Washington to South Carolina, a state where laws are less friendly to unions. About 1,000 jobs were created in South Carolina at the new Boeing plant.

“This is the outcome we have always preferred, and one that is typical for our agency,” NLRB Acting General Counsel Lafe Solomon said in a statement announcing the withdrawn charges. “I am pleased that the collective bargaining process has succeeded and that the parties have begun a promising new chapter in their relationship.”

The Machinist Union announced a tentative contract with Boeing last week that guarantees production of Boeing’s newest airplane, the 737 MAX, will be built by union members in Washington. That contract was ratified Thursday with 74 percent of union workers supporting it.

“When we announced the tentative contract agreement we said if our members ratified it that we considered it to have resolved our issues with Boeing,” the union’s spokeswoman Connie Kelliher said.

Kelliher said this is the first time production of an entire line of planes has been guaranteed in the union contract.

House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, who has been investigating the NLRB case against Boeing, praised the board’s decision to drop the charges, but said his investigation into the board would continue.

The Oversight Committee’s Ranking Democrat, Elijah Cummings of Maryland, said in a statement that he hopes his committee will drop their investigation now that the case has concluded.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Boeing, Machinist Union Reach Tentative Deal to Settle NLRB Dispute

Stephen Morton/Bloomberg via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- After months of labor law wrangling and political posturing, airline manufacturer Boeing and the Machinists Union have reached a tentative deal to extend the Washington State-based airplane production workers’ contracts for four years.

If the deal is ratified by its members next week, the union said it would drop the unfair labor practice suit against Boeing that is currently pending before the National Labor Relations Board.

“We believe the proposed extension is good for our members, it’s good for Boeing, it’s good for airline customers and it’s good for communities,” said Machinist Union spokeswoman Connie Kelliher. “It secures a strong future here, provides top-notch pay and benefits and really signals the start of a potential new relationship with Boeing.”

Under the terms of the deal, union workers get job security from the contracts to build Boeing’s new 737 MAX airplane, 700 of which have already been ordered, along with the 3,000 original 737s currently on backorder.

Boeing gets the go-ahead to start production of its 787 Dreamliner at its newly-built South Carolina facility without the threat of the NLRB forcing them to close because of what it sees as unfair labor practices.

The NLRB dispute revolves around Boeing’s decision to build some of the 787 Dreamliners, which are currently being assembled in Washington where workers are unionized, at a new facility in South Carolina, a right to work state. The South Carolina plant would add 1,000 new jobs in a state where unemployment rate currently sits at 10.5 percent, 1.5 percentage points above the national average.

If the labor board ruled in favor of the Machinist Union, Boeing may have had to close the South Carolina plant and move production of the Dreamliner back to Washington.

The labor board dispute has become a litmus test of sorts for Republicans, especially those running for the party’s presidential nominee.

Every GOP presidential candidate has chastised the lawsuit -- and President Obama's apparent support of it. Mitt Romney called it a “power grab.” Herman Cain said it was, “completely unacceptable...political games.” And Newt Gingrich accused the labor board of “basically breaking the law.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


First Boeing 787 Dreamliner Readies to Depart for Japan

Boeing(EVERETT, Wash.) -- After a three-year delay, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner will finally be delivered to its first customer, All Nippon Airways.

The $200 million aircraft was scheduled to be handed over to the Japanese carrier in 2008, but it has been plagued by persistent delays that have cost Boeing billions of dollars since the company first announced the project in 2004.

Regardless of the long wait, the new Dreamliner is a welcome sight for struggling airlines since its light carbon fiber design promises to drastically reduce fuel usage.

The 787 will leave Everett, Washington for Japan on Tuesday.  ANA will officially begin flying the aircraft domestically on Oct. 26.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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