Defining the Future of Flight: 1997 -- present

Bringing People Together

New products, planes and concepts continued to keep Boeing commercial airplanes setting industry standards for passenger comfort and fuel efficiency.

Everett factory building
Mural covers six factory doors of main Everett factory building

Milestones in 2006 included the Jan. 31 launch of the 737-700ER (Extended Range) and the Oct. 16 launch of the Boeing Business Jet 3, based on the new 737-900ER, and the largest BBJ family member. On Sept. 1, the 737-900ER made its first flight, entering service Feb. 16, 2007, with All Nippon Airways.

In addition, the world's longest-range commercial jetliner, the 777-200LR Worldliner, was certified by U.S. and European authorities to enter into passenger service with airlines around the world. It was first delivered Feb. 27, 2006, to Pakistan International Airlines. On July 28, 2009, Ethiopian Airlines ordered five 777-200LRs and became the first African carrier to order and operate the aircraft. Boeing delivered the first 770-200LR to a U.S. carrier on Feb. 29, 2008, to Delta Air Lines.

Boeing made the Guinness World Records during 2006 with a mural installed on its main Everett, Wash., factory building, the home of the 747, 767, 777 and 787. The mural comprises more than 100,000 square feet of pressure-sensitive graphic film and is the largest digital graphic in the world on the largest building in the world by volume.

747 Large Cargo Freighter arrives in Seattle
First 747 Dreamlifter arrives in Seattle

The first Boeing 747-400 Dreamlifter made its inaugural flight on Sept. 9, 2006. The enormous airplanes transport major assemblies for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and, with its enlarged upper fuselage, the Dreamlifter can carry three times the cargo by volume of a standard 747-400 freighter. On Jan. 16, 2007, the Dreamlifter delivered the first 787 Dreamliner major assemblies to Global Aeronautica's Vought Aircraft Industries facility in Charleston, S.C.

On March 12, 2007, Continental Airlines ordered five 787-9 Dreamliners and became the first customer in the Americas to order the aircraft. The 787 Dreamliner went into final assembly on May 21, 2007, and rolled out July 8, 2007. At the Everett factory, 15,000 people attended the celebration. More than 30,000 others participated via two-way satellite from Japan, Italy and locations in the United States.

On July 30, 2008, Boeing acquired the business and operations conducted by Vought Aircraft Industries at its South Carolina facility, where it builds key structures for the 787 Dreamliner. On Oct. 28, 2009, Boeing announced the facility will be the location for a second final assembly site for the 787 Dreamliner, breaking ground less than a month later.

In February 2008, Boeing delivered its 1,400th 747, a 747-400 Freighter, to GE Commercial Aviation Services and the 700th 777, a 777-300ER (Extended Range), to International Lease Finance Corp. and its customer, Cathay Pacific Airways. In March, the first 777 Freighter, Boeing's newest cargo jet, entered a moving assembly line, and on April 11, the first 767-300 Converted Freighter made its inaugural flight.

In August 2008, Boeing began major assembly on the first 747-8 Freighter and completed the first BBJ 3. During 2009, at the National Business Aviation Association convention, Boeing showcased the BBJ Convertible, which can change to an all-freighter configuration in less than eight hours. Boeing delivered the Emirates' 78th 777 on July 29, 2009, making the Dubai-based carrier the world's largest operator of the 777 and the only airline to operate every version of the 777.

On May 24, 2008, Boeing, Shenzhen Airlines, Medical Teams International and Mercy Corps delivered nearly three tons (U.S.) of medical supplies for victims of the devastating China earthquake in an effort called "Flight of Hope." And on July 3, Boeing Australia Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of The Boeing Company, became the company's first certified U.S. Federal Aviation Administration repair station outside the United States.

Boeing Alteon changed its name to Boeing Training & Flight Services on August 6, 2009. On Aug. 31, 2009, Boeing Commercial Airplanes leadership changed when Scott Carson, president and CEO, announced he was retiring from the company at the end of the year. Jim Albaugh, president and CEO of Boeing Integrated Defense Systems, took over Carson's position.

On Jan. 22, 2007, Boeing and Lockheed Martin teamed up to promote advancement of the U.S. Next-Generation Air Transportation System, designed to develop ways to handle an anticipated threefold increase in air traffic by the year 2020.

X-48B Blended Wing Body (BWB)

The shape of airplanes to come took form as Boeing Phantom Works, NASA and the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory developed a futuristic aircraft, designated the X-48B, using the blended wing body (BWB). It made its first flight on July 20, 2007, taking off at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center in California, climbing to 7,500 feet and landing 31 minutes later. In September 2008, Phantom Works and NASA researchers successfully stalled and recovered the X-48B during two flights. The same year Boeing teamed with Skyhook International to develop the (Jess Heavy Lifter) JHL-40, a new commercial heavy lift rotorcraft that can carry 40 tons 200 miles without refueling.

On Dec. 15, 2009, the first 787 Dreamliner took to the skies from Paine Field in Everett, Wash., under the control of Capt. Mike Carriker and Capt. Randy Neville. Takeoff occurred at 10:27 a.m. Pacific time. It concluded with touchdown at 1:33 p.m. Pacific time at Boeing Field in Seattle. The pilots smiled and waved to cheering crowds of customers, partners, employees and the media as they emerged from the airplane. "Today is a great day," said Scott Fancher, vice president and general manager of the 787 program.

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