(AP) Boeing Co., a leading defense contractor and one of the world’s two dominant manufacturers of airline planes, is expected to move its headquarters from Chicago to the Washington, D.C., area, – Arlington specifically – according to two people familiar with the matter. The decision could be announced as soon as later Thursday, according to one of the people. Both spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly before Boeing’s announcement. Boeing did not immediately comment.

The decision was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.  A move to Arlington, Virginia, would put Boeing executives close to officials for their key customer, the Pentagon, and the Federal Aviation Administration, which certifies Boeing passenger planes. Boeing’s roots are in the Seattle area, and it has assembly plants in Washington state and South Carolina. The company moved its headquarters to Chicago in 2001 after an unusually public search that also considered Dallas and Denver.

US Senator Mark Warner has commented on Boeing’s planned move if its headquarters to Arlington, saying that “for well over a year, I’ve been making my case to Boeing senior leadership that Virginia would be a great place for its headquarters.” Warner also said in a statement today he found out about that planned move from Chicago late last year.