Boeing UK

Boeing UK is the UK subsidiary of Boeing, an American multinational corporation that designs, manufactures, and sells airplanes, rotorcraft, rockets and satellites.

The company in the UK is approaching 2,000 employees at a number of sites across the United Kingdom including London, Bristol, Fleet, Frimley, Farnborough, Gosport, Yeovil, and Manchester.[1]

Boeing UK’s footprint has continued to grow through programs such as the 787 Dreamliner,[2] services to commercial aircraft operators,[3] the Chinook Through Life Customer Support (TLCS) programme,[4] The Boeing Portal[5] and the Support Chain Information Services (SCIS)[6] delivery partnership with the UK Ministry of Defence, formerly known as LogNEC.

Boeing platforms in service with British armed forces include the AWACS E3-D Sentry, Apache attack helicopter, Chinook heavy-lift helicopter, C-17 military transport aircraft, ScanEagle reconnaissance unmanned aerial vehicle and the Harpoon missile.[7]

The President of Boeing UK is Sir Michael Arthur, a former diplomat who served as Britain’s ambassador to Germany (2007-2010) and the British High Commissioner to India (2003-2007).[8]

History and UK partnerships

The Boeing Company’s relationship with the United Kingdom and British industry dates back more than 75 years.[9] Early activity included working with the Bristol Aeroplane Company to provide engines to Douglas DC-2B variant aircraft, the sale of legacy company North American’s Harvard training aircraft to the Ministry of War and Pan-American’s Boeing 314 sea plane services between New York City and Southampton in the mid-1930s.[10]

Today, the company works with more than 250 UK companies as partners and suppliers and sustains more than 55,700 jobs across the UK. Boeing has 30 sites across the UK and its net spend with UK suppliers totaled £1.4bn in 2014.[1]

Boeing’s subsidiaries[11] include: Jeppesen UK, Continental DataGraphics, Aviall UK, Miro Technologies, AerData, ETS Aviation, and 2d3 Sensing.

Aviation Training International Ltd is a joint venture with AgustaWestland and provides training for British Army Apache air crew, ground crew and maintenance personnel.[12]

BDUK and Boeing’s defence presence in the UK

The United Kingdom remains a strategic market for Boeing Defense, Space & Security, the parent company of British subsidiary Boeing Defence UK Ltd (BDUK).

BDUK was established in the UK in 2008 to respond to the UK’s Defence Industrial Strategy and to create and develop intellectual property within the UK. It has more than 1,100 employees at 27 locations throughout the United Kingdom, supporting Ministry of Defence (MOD) and US Department of Defense programmes. Over the past five years, BDUK has consolidated Boeing Defense, Space and Security operations in the UK.[7]

The managing director of Boeing Defence UK Ltd is David Pitchforth.[13]

Boeing platforms in service with British armed forces include the AWACS E3-D Sentry, Apache attack helicopter, Chinook heavy-lift helicopter, C-17 military transport aircraft, ScanEagle reconnaissance unmanned aerial vehicle and the Harpoon missile.[7]

The company also provides programmes such as Chinook Through Life Customer Support,[4] Apache Integrated Operational Support[14] and C-17 Globemaster III Integrated Sustainment.[7]

Boeing works on a number of projects under various Cooperative Research & Development Agreements with both the UK Ministry of Defence and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), especially in concept development.

In 2009, the company announced the establishment of UK Rotorcraft Support, an organisation focused on providing increased capability to the UK military rotorcraft fleet.[15]

The Portal, a center enabling customers to explore and understand implications of proposed network-enabled systems using the latest in modeling, simulation, analysis and experimentation was first established by Boeing in 2007. Now known as The Boeing Portal, the facility moved into expanded premises in December 2011.[5]

In July 2012, Boeing became the first company to sign up to the UK Ministry of Defence’s new Defence and Security Industrial Engagement Policy, a policy encouraging overseas-based companies to make a firm commitment to continue business activities in the United Kingdom for the long term.[16]

In 2013, the Royal Navy contracted with Boeing Defence UK and Boeing subsidiary Insitu for the supply of the ScanEagle unmanned aerial system as a maritime intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) asset.[17]

BDUK set up a focused training business in 2014 to enhance the delivery of integrated, platform-based military capability to support customers’ operational requirements.[1]

Boeing Defence UK maintains local partnerships and alliances with companies such as AgustaWestland, BAE Systems, QinetiQ, Thales UK and Vector Aerospace.[1]


Boeing Commercial Airplanes’ (BCA) relationship with the UK dates back to 1941, when three Boeing 314A aircraft were bought by the British government and allotted to The British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) for use as transport aircraft.[10]

Since then, the company has delivered approximately 600 airplanes over the past 40 years to UK airlines.[1] British Airways has more than 160 Boeing airplanes in its fleet, including Boeing 747, Boeing 767, Boeing 777 and Boeing 787 models.[1] Ryanair operates Europe’s largest fleet of Boeing 737-800s[18] while the airline was also the launch customer for the 737 MAX 200, placing an order for 100 in November 2014.[19] Other UK operators, such as Thomson Airways (part of TUI Group)[20] and Monarch Airlines have also ordered a combined total of 90 Boeing 737 MAX aeroplanes.[21]

The Boeing 787 has entered into service with Thomson Airways,[22] British Airways[23] and Virgin Atlantic Airways.[24] Many UK aerospace companies are involved in the Boeing 787 program, including Rolls-Royce, GE Aviation Services, Messier-Dowty, Ultra Electronics, GKN, Claverham and Ipeco. By value, on a Boeing 787 with Rolls-Royce engines, UK companies make 25 percent of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.[2]

Boeing Flight Services was set up in 2004 and runs a flight and technical training center, located south of Gatwick Airport, for flight crew and maintenance personnel.

Research and university partnerships

Boeing has an extensive network of industrial and academic partners across the UK. The company works with seven universities in the UK, each of which is focused on a different specific area of research.[25]

The universities with which Boeing has invested in research and development programs with include:

University of Bristol: Boeing has partnerships with the University of Bristol on a number of engineering programs which focus on aerospace, civil and mechanical developments, including unmanned aerial vehicles.[25]

University of Cambridge: Boeing conducts a number of research projects in the field of highly networked systems. Cambridge is a recognized leader in IT research and this field is of particular interest to Boeing as it moves towards providing more integrated solutions to its customers.[25]

Cranfield University: Boeing works with the University on a number of projects that reflect the University’s reputation and expertise in the areas of aviation, aeronautics and aircraft development. One is the design and production of a sub-scale demonstrator of a Blended Wing Body aircraft, with specifications provided by Boeing, by Cranfield’s wholly owned commercial subsidiary, Cranfield Aerospace Ltd. Boeing also helped start the Integrated Vehicle Health Management (IVHM) Centre at Cranfield.[26] This consortium, modelled after the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) at the University of Sheffield (see below), will focus on technologies to revolutionize aircraft health monitoring, prognostics and use of acquired data to manage the system. Boeing employees also study at Cranfield University.

University of Nottingham: Boeing has collaborated with the University since 2006 to develop ways to recycle carbon fibre composites. In October 2011, the company launched a new collaborative investment in carbon fibre recycling research involving Boeing Commercial Airplanes and The University of Nottingham’s Faculty of Engineering. Boeing is aiming to collaborate with the University in all its composites recycling activities.

University of Sheffield: Boeing, in partnership with the University, founded and continues to support the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC)[27] to develop advanced manufacturing technologies that will help reduce the cycle time and cost of producing aerospace products while improving their quality and performance. The AMRC now has partners developing new manufacturing technologies that enhance the competitiveness of British industry across a broad spectrum of sectors – not only aerospace - but also marine, automotive, nuclear and medical.

University of Southampton: Boeing works with the University of Southampton as one of the United Kingdom’s leading universities to specialise in engineering, as well as disciplines such as supply-chain management.[25]

University of Strathclyde: Boeing partnered with engineering companies including Rolls-Royce and Mettis Aerospace, the University of Strathclyde and the Scottish Executive to establish the Advanced Forming Research Centre (AFRC),[28] located near Glasgow Airport. The AFRC is developing forging technologies to support the design and manufacture of new products including components structures for airframes, aero engines, landing gear, power generation, cars, ships, medical devices and wind turbines.

Boeing is also a member of the Council for Industry and Higher Education and the National Council for Universities and Business,[29] an organization that develops, promotes and supports collaboration between industry and academia across the United Kingdom.

Community engagement projects

Boeing supports the following education and environmental projects across the UK:

The Schools Build-a-Plane Challenge: A Boeing initiative in partnership with The Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS), aimed at motivating young people in the areas of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM). The project provides students from secondary schools across the UK with the opportunity to build a real light aircraft from a kit.[30]

Air League: Boeing has formed a partnership with the Air League to provide flying and ballooning scholarships for both disabled people and wounded former armed services personnel in association with Aerobility, as well as providing gliding scholarships for young people in London from disadvantaged backgrounds.[31]

The Prince’s Trust xl clubs: Boeing supports a personal development programme aimed at young people aged 13 to 19 at risk of underachievement or exclusion from school. Boeing also supports the ‘Get Started with Product Design’ course at the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre with Boeing (AMRC), a week-long training course run by The Prince’s Trust with the aim of equipping young people with the skills to go onto education, training or work in the area of engineering.[32]

The Earth Restoration Service: Boeing runs a service for children to learn about ecology and for the schools to engage with their local communities by planting and caring for the trees in their school.[33]

The American Air Museum in Britain: Boeing supports an educational outreach and teacher training programme aimed at primary school children called ‘Partners in Flight’ led by the American Air Museum located at the Imperial War Museum, Duxford.[34]

Stansted Aerozone: Boeing has been involved in supporting a new education centre at Stansted Airport in Essex, designed to encourage young people and boost skills in STEM subjects. Aerozone aims to attract over 5,000 youngsters to the centre by 2016.[35]


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  20. "TUI shareholders approve 737 Max order".
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  31. "Scholarships". The Air League.
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  35. "Aerozone".
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