100 years of innovation and plans for a century more

Since July 15, 1916, we have been making the impossible possible.

From producing a single canvas-and-wood airplane to transforming how we fly over oceans and on to the stars, The Boeing Company has become the world’s largest aerospace company.

Over the last 100 years, Boeing has created an inspiring legacy of innovation — one that has defended freedom for millions and propelled people across previously untraversed skies and even beyond into space.

Our relationship with Jordan and the Middle East is equally historic and in tune with the region’s vision for an innovative future.

For example, in 2014, Boeing and Royal Jordanian celebrated the delivery of the airline’s first 787 Dreamliner of the six ordered. The 787 is an airplane that will play a central role in the Amman-based airline’s strategic plan for fleet modernisation.

Since 1945, when US president Franklin D. Roosevelt presented a DC-3 Dakota to King Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia, our relationship with the Middle East has continued to deepen and strengthen as we support the region’s defence needs as well as its burgeoning requirement for commercial airplanes as one of the world’s fastest growing commercial airplane markets.

Like the region’s visionary leaders, we look beyond the present and to a future in which the Middle East will create innovations that impact the entire world.

There is a desire and hunger for disruptive technology and creativity in the region and Boeing is well placed to support an innovative Middle East.

Today, at the start of our second century, it is on us to imagine what comes next and make it happen.

In the next 100 years, we may be living off unlimited clean power from solar satellites, making daily commercial trips to space or flying across the globe in less than an hour.

It is not enough to have a great legacy, we are founders of our future.

To facilitate this change, Boeing believes that inspiring the region’s next generation of young people who will imagine the future is imperative and we have invested heavily in creating a suite of educational science, technology, engineering and mathematics content to share with the region’s future “doers”.

One of the centrepieces of our centennial celebrations is the “above and beyond” exhibition.

The exhibit, which has so far toured Dubai and Abu Dhabi and will visit Saudi Arabia, offers hands-on experience with aerospace innovations past, present and future.

Our challenge as with many other companies and countries is to create and maintain a fertile environment for new ideas, where people want to do things that haven’t been done before or do things better.

Looking to the future, we see space exploration as an important frontier for Boeing and we believe it will be an important frontier for the Middle East.

Boeing is a strong supporter of growing the space sector. We see a great opportunity for us to partner with the region on future endeavours that will shape the future of humankind.

Boeing has a strong pedigree in space exploration. With the International Space Station (ISS), we have just completed 15 years of continuous human presence in low Earth orbit, and our analysis will enable the extension of a unique microgravity laboratory to exist on board the station until at least 2028.

Meanwhile, as part of our commercial crew programme, Boeing is on track to conduct an uncrewed flight test in late-2017 and a crewed flight test in early-2018 leading to a first crewed mission in mid-2018.

Boeing and NASA are on the path to a 2018 first flight (EM-1), which will take an uncrewed Orion around the moon.

The second mission (EM-2), with a larger upper stage, will launch in 2021 with a crewed Orion co-manifested with the first element of the habitat that will be placed in the proximity of the moon.

Of course, space is only one element of our strategy for innovation. Our research and technology teams ensure that the company is constantly focused on generating innovation and creativity while our technology investments focus on affordability, breakthrough performance, enduring sustainability and environmental responsibility.

Research and innovation are a major part of our infrastructure; a framework that we believe can be transferred to the Middle East.

100 years after our founding, technology is advancing at ever-accelerating speeds, but the lesson of our founders still holds true: our company’s future depends on our ability to focus creativity and invention into practical and measurable value for our customers.

As stewards of this history, we have a responsibility to build an even more inspiring future, and continue Bill Boeing’s legacy of applying innovation to solve problems and change the world and the Middle East.

We enter our next century determined to make a difference and when others say it cannot be done, we will find a way.


The writer is president of Boeing Middle East, North Africa and Turkey. He contributed this article to The Jordan Times.

from Department of Space Colonization