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2002 Speeches
Phil Condit portrait

Phil Condit

Chairman and CEO

The Boeing Company

"Information Technology Will Change the World"

Farnborough Airshow

Farnborough, United Kingdom

July 22, 2002

Let me start by talking about what the big issues are as we look over the next 20 to 30 years.

I believe the key item is, in fact, the Information Revolution. It will change a great deal. If we look back at the Industrial Revolution -- look what it did to the world -- it changed our world from a rural, agrarian society to an urban, industrial society. It also dramatically raised the standard of living but in a process that was pretty disruptive. I think the Information Revolution will be every bit as disruptive, and it has every bit as much potential.

Let me give you three very specific examples. They are ones that impact Boeing and impact the industry in general. The first one is air traffic management; second, convenience for the air passenger; third, integrated defense. Let me talk about each one.

First: Air traffic management.

I think the key here is that the opportunity exists to do something dramatic about safety, about security, about capacity, and about efficiency of the operation of the air traffic system. That is a pretty tall order, but I think the information technology and systems integration capability that the aerospace industry has offers us enormous possibilities.

Now let me touch briefly on two of these. First, from a safety standpoint, with global positioning satellites systems and three-dimensional terrain databases, we should be able, as an industry, to provide a system that completely removes controlled flight into terrain (CFIT). Second, the kind of system that can be built with air traffic management allows airplanes to operate with more efficient routings because you handle them strategically, and you get away from holding patterns. So we ought to be able to add significantly to the efficiency of operations.

Second: Convenience for the air passenger.

If we look at air travel today, there are a couple of things that could be improved, and I think again we can do something significant. For example, a large portion of the trip is not spent in the air. It's spent on the ground; i.e., in processing people, in check-in, in security checks. Again, I think information technology and large-scale integration can do a lot in this direction. One suggestion has been that smart cards, containing biometric data, would allow a trusted traveller -- someone who travels frequently -- to be identified, to know that they are who they say they are, and that would allow pre-clearance for customs, for check-in, for more safety and security.

Obviously, one of the other parts -- and one that we are deeply interested in -- is global connectivity. Can you, in fact, in a world where each one of us wants to be connected, stay in contact whenever you want? And so our Connexion by Boeing is addressing that area of global connectivity, and I believe we are making great strides. If you were looking at the news wires about two hours ago, you saw that Japan Airlines announced that they reached an agreement with Connexion by Boeing to equip 10 of Japan Airlines' long-range airplanes, with options for more airplanes. So we are moving from capability to reality.

Third: Integrated defense.

Maybe the best demonstration of the impact of information technology is integrated defense. We have an opportunity to radically change this capability, to provide our defense systems with the ultimate in high ground -- information superiority. The possibility exists for that with the use of satellites, the use of manned and unmanned air vehicles, and the use of manned and unmanned ground vehicles all networked together.

So, in the end, information technology will radically change the world and our industry. It will change the way we control airplanes. It will change the way we move people through airports and connect them. It will change defense systems. Now I'd like to take your questions.