The Boeing logo is seen on the world headquarters office building in Chicago April 26, 2006./File Photo
The Boeing logo is seen on the world headquarters office building in Chicago April 26, 2006./File Photo Reuters / STR New

Boeing Co is set to move its headquarters from Chicago to Arlington, Virginia, people familiar with the matter said on Thursday, as the crisis-plagued U.S. planemaker works to repair relationships with customers, federal regulators and lawmakers.

The move to Arlington - across the Potomac River from the U.S. capital - is expected to be announced around the middle of next week, the people said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Representatives for Boeing, the city of Chicago and Arlington declined immediate comment.

Reuters reported last October, citing sources close to the company, that cost cuts and a more hands-on corporate culture had raised questions about Boeing's future in Chicago, and in turn the broad direction Boeing intends to take as it tries to regain its stride.

Boeing has been working to repair its relationship with the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and lawmakers after prior CEO Dennis Muilenburg was fired in 2019 after clashing the agency over its review of the 737 MAX following two fatal crashes that killed 346 people. Boeing, a key supplier to the U.S. Defense Department, last week unveiled more than $1 billion in charges on its Air Force One and T-7A Red Hawk trainer jet programs.

Boeing already has an Arlington office that opened in 2014 and has significant unused space. It is just blocks from Amazon's HQ2 building that is under construction.

Boeing shares were 3% lower in afternoon trading on a down day for the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

The Chicago headquarters - a 36-floor, $200 million riverfront skyscraper - has also been at the crossroads of a cost-cutting campaign that has seen Boeing shed real estate, including its commercial airplane headquarters in Seattle.

Boeing moved its headquarters to Chicago in 2001, leaving its Seattle home after 85 years following its 1997 merger with St. Louis-based rival McDonnell Douglas - a decision that angered rank-and-file mechanics and engineers.

Boeing was seeking a post-merger headquarters in a neutral location separate from those existing divisional power centers.

Chicago, Cook County and Illinois awarded Boeing more than $60 million in tax and other incentives over 20 years to relocate. Those credits have expired, though Boeing was set to receive 2021 funds this year.

Some critics viewed the Chicago move as a symbol of a company that prized near-term profits and shareholder returns over long-term engineering dominance - a charge repeated after the 737 MAX crashes.

Once the symbol of a new Boeing, the vision of a corporate epicenter rising above its constituent parts has fallen at odds with the imperative of recapturing engineering dominance and repairing relationships with customers and federal regulators.

Boeing Chief Executive Dave Calhoun, for example, has made repeated trips to its 787 Dreamliner factory in South Carolina to deal with production-related defects and certification delays that have hobbled the program.

Calhoun is also working to win certification of the largest variant of the 737 MAX before a new safety standard on cockpit alerts takes effect at year-end and is hoping Congress will step in.

The deadline for changes was introduced as part of broader regulatory reforms at the Federal Aviation Administration following the fatal 737 MAX crashes.