USA may buy new Air Force One planes

Ann Santiago
August 3, 2017

Nearly eight months after President Donald Trump first criticized the multibillion dollar plan to buy two new 747's to be Air Force One and its backup, the Commander in Chief is close to getting a new deal.

Transaero was the second largest airline in Russian Federation and went bankrupt in 2015, selling much of its fleet to Russia's number one airline, Aeroflot, but leaving some aircraft unclaimed and up for grabs. Boeing lists the average sticker price of a 747-8 as $386.8 million; the actual amount paid by airlines and other customers varies with quantities, configurations, and so forth.

Air Force One is actually two planes - one for the president and a spare.

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The Russian airline never received the planes, according to two people familiar with the jets.

A final deal could be announced in the coming weeks. "The area, in general, is a storage place for older planes and planes that may one day be flown again", the report in The Independent said. If they conclude a purchase contract, that would be followed by another contract covering modifications to turn commercial airliners into Air Force One, which is a flying fortress with sophisticated communications equipment.

The redeployment to the Air Force of jets already built for another customer would effectively reduce Boeing's future 747 production plans by two aircraft. Airlines instead have opted for cheaper-to-fly two-engine planes like the 777.


The sale could save the Air Force millions of dollars, and comes after then president-elect Donald Trump said in December that the Air Force One replacement project costs were "ridiculous".

Boeing spokeswoman Caroline Hutcheson said in a statement that the company was "still working toward a deal to provide two 747-8s to the Air Force" and that the transaction was focused on "providing a great value for the Air Force and the best price for the taxpayer". However, the Pentagon's estimated budget has remained steady at around $3.1 billion for the planes, which will replace two aging jumbos that have become costly to maintain.

The latest version of Air Force One won't be used until 2024.

The Air Force and Boeing confirmed on Tuesday that they are working on a deal involving Boeing 747s but declined to disclose further details.

Boeing had said it expected to add the Air Force One jets to its backlog, which now numbers 20 planes - five passenger models and 15 freighters.

Work was due to start in 2019, with the planes entering service in the fall of 2023.

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