President-elect Donald Trump has a new target: his own official ride after he moves into the White House. On Tuesday morning, he tweeted the order to Boeing for the new Air Force One jet should be cancelled because of high costs.
“Boeing is building a brand new 747 Air Force One for future presidents, but costs are out of control, more than $4 billion. Cancel order!” Trump posted.
He later explained the tweet: “The plane is totally out of control. It’s going to be over $4 billion for Air Force One program and I think it’s ridiculous. I think Boeing is doing a little bit of a number. We want Boeing to make a lot of money, but not that much money.”
The new aircraft – it is not clear how many, the current Air Force One fleet has two – are expected to be commissioned in 2023, which would be towards the end of a possible second term for Trump. The Air Force previously said it had earmarked $1.65 billion for two replacement jets.
While expensive, Air Force One is more than other 747s – the current fleet comprises 747-200s and the new ones will be 747-8. Todd Harrison, a defense analyst, told The Washington Post, “I think once (Trump) sees an actual Air Force One and the unique capabilities it is outfitted with he may start to understand why it is so expensive to replace.”
It is also a “flying command post,” Harrison went to say. “In the event of a nuclear attack, this is where the military will keep the president safe.”
The US Air Force awarded Boeing an initial contract worth $25.8 million in January. US presidents have used Boeing planes since 1943, according to the company’s website.
The 747-8 planes, 240 feet long with a wing span of 224 feet, can fly direct from Washington to Hong Kong, 1,600 km farther than the current Air Force One.
(With inputs from agencies)