When Ray Conner retired as head of Boeing's commercial aircraft business in 2017, the company threw a farewell party for its lifelong employee. Among the speakers: Willie Walsh, who runs the IAG airline group and had built a close rapport over the years with both Mr Conner and Boeing, having spent almost two decades piloting 737 planes himself.
Mr Walsh's message was that relationships matter, both between individuals and companies.
Now, with Boeing in crisis after its all-important 737 Max model was grounded in the wake of two deadly crashes, the company was able to call on the robustness of that partnership. In a stunning move at this week's Paris Air Show, Mr Walsh ordered 200 of the Max, a huge commercial bet on a plane whose return to service remains undecided, and a resounding endorsement at a time when Boeing needs all the support it can get.