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Feature Story

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Boeing/Bernard Choi

Cesar Capalungan looks for an airplane part in a warehouse in Kent, Wash. This operation is one part of Boeing's multi-billion dollar services business.

Customizing a multi-billion dollar business

By Bernard Choi

You can call Cesar Capalungan a personal shopper for the world's airlines.

Adrian Butler

Boeing/Bernard Choi

Armed with an airline's wish list, Cesar Capalungan looks through thousands of airplane parts to compile a set needed for a modification project.

He roams the aisles of a warehouse in Kent, Wash. looking for the exact set of components a carrier needs to modify or repair an airplane.

"There's a lot of different type of parts," Capalungan said as he checked a part off an airline's wish list recently. "We have to pick the right ones and meet the customer's deadline."

This warehouse is just one slice of Boeing's multi-billion business that provides commercial aviation services. There is a group that trains pilots and crew, a group that offers real-time engineering advice, a group that provides aeronautical charts, just to name a few. The entire unit serves as a one-stop-shop to help keep airplanes flying.

Over the next 20 years, airlines are projected to need $1.5 trillion dollars in services.

"The whole name of the game is to have the right mechanic with the right piece of technical information with the right part in the right place," said Lou Mancini, senior vice president of Boeing Commercial Aviation Services.

Boeing tooling engineer Kelson Na

Boeing/Al Matthews

Boeing engineers staff a 24-hour operations center in Seattle where they answer calls from airline officials who need immediate maintenance and technical advice.

The services unit accounts for 15 percent of the annual revenues in Boeing's commercial airplanes unit. Over the next 20 years, airlines are projected to need $1.5 trillion dollars in services.

Watch the video above to see how Capalungan's team customizes each order to help an airline speed up a modification project. Also, check the 'Related Content' section on the right to see how a Boeing team converts a 747-400 passenger jet into a freighter airplane, while another team repairs a jetliner that was in a big fender-bender.