Published: Fri, March 02, 2018
Finance | By Kristine Clayton

Trump, Boeing reach 'informal' agreement for new Air Force One

Trump, Boeing reach 'informal' agreement for new Air Force One

He said the contract will save taxpayers more than $1.4 billion, but those savings could not be independently confirmed.

The informal agreement for the heavily modified 747s would save $1.4 billion from the original estimate, according to administration officials, and the total cost would be capped at $3.9 billion.

Boeing will beef up two 747 jets to serve as Air Force One planes.

The legendary Air Force One jets are light blue and white liveried, with "United States of America" emblazoned on the fuselage and an American flag on the tail.

"The current Air Force One fleet faces capability gaps, rising maintenance costs, and parts obsolescence as it has reached the end of its planned 30-year life cycle", a White House official said.

The planes never left USA soil, the Air Force said. But Trump himself had declared that the initial cost was about $4 billion, a figure that defense analysts agreed was about right. He threatened to cancel the "order" in a tweet at the time.

The price tag for the replacement aircraft, and claims of savings, have varied since Trump first slammed Boeing in December 2016.

US aerospace analyst Richard Aboulafia said the White House was engaging in " political theater". I think Boeing is doing a little bit of a number. "President Trump negotiated a good deal on behalf of the American people", Boeing tweeted. The same 2018 budget document, not adjusted for inflation, showed the price at $3.6 billion.

After the presidential election, Trump made waves after suggesting that the government "cancel" the order for the new presidential aircraft because of outrageous costs.

The meeting, which was not on the President's daily schedule, came after almost a year of lower-level meetings between Pentagon procurement officials and Boeing executives that, at times, reached deadlock.

The government had a contract with Boeing to build two or more new planes.

The White House official said the new deal with Boeing would be "managed through over and above contract line items that will be negotiated concurrently with this final contract".

The negotiations covered the overhaul of two 747 airliners. Most of the cost in this deal comes from outfitting the planes for the president, including ensuring communication equipment is secure and the plane is self-sufficient.

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