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Boeing moving headquarters from Chicago to Virginia

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Boeing announced Thursday that its Arlington, Va., campus just outside Washington, D.C., will serve as the company's global headquarters.

The company has been headquartered in Chicago for 21 years.

The aerospace and defense firm's employees in the Arlington area support various corporate functions and specialize in advanced airplane development and autonomous systems, according to a news release. In addition to designating Northern Virginia as its new headquarters, Boeing plans to develop a research and technology hub in the area to attract engineering and technical capabilities.

The move does not affect the function of the North Charleston facility, which employed more than 5,000, according to a January tally. The North Charleston location delivers all three versions of the 787, though deliveries have been stalled for a year as the company investigates issues regarding tiny gaps found between sections of the fuselage, about the width of a human hair.

"We are excited to build on our foundation here in Northern Virginia,” Boeing President CEO Dave Calhoun said in the news release. “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,"

Boeing will maintain a “significant” presence at its Chicago location and surrounding region, the news release said, but did not elaborate on what that presence will be. The company website said it had 729 employees in the Illinois and made annual supplier and vendor purchases of $1billion in the state.

Over the past two years, Boeing has implemented flexible and virtual solutions that have reduced its office space needs, the release said.

As part of its effort to tap into engineering and technology talent across the United States and around the world, Boeing plans to establish a research and technology hub in Northern Virginia. The hub will focus on developing innovations in the areas of cyber security, autonomous operations, quantum sciences and software and systems engineering, the release said. 

he company's three business units will continue to be based at their current headquarters, which include Boeing Commercial Airplanes in Seattle, Wash.; Boeing Global Services in Plano, Texas; and Boeing Defense, Space and Security in Arlington, Va.

Reach Ross Norton at 864-720-1222.

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