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Trump reaches deal $3.9 billion deal with Boeing on Air Force One planes

The Boeing 747-8s are designed to be an airborne White House able to fly in worst-case security scenarios, such as nuclear war, and are modified with military avionics, advanced communications and a self-defence system.

world Updated: Feb 27, 2018 22:27 IST
Reuters
Reuters
Reuters, Washington
Donald Trump,Air Force One,Boeing
Air Force One departs from Noi Bai international airport in Hanoi.(Reuters File Photo)

US President Donald Trump has reached an agreement with the Boeing Co to provide two Air Force One planes for $3.9 billion, the White House said on Tuesday.

“President Trump has reached an informal deal with Boeing on a fixed-price contract for the new Air Force One Program,” deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley told Reuters. He said the contract will save taxpayers more than $1.4 billion, but those savings could not be independently confirmed.

Trump has said Boeing’s costs to build replacements for Air Force One aircraft - one of the most visible symbols of the US presidency - were too high and urged the federal government in a tweet to “Cancel order!”

The Boeing 747-8s are designed to be an airborne White House able to fly in worst-case security scenarios, such as nuclear war, and are modified with military avionics, advanced communications and a self-defence system.

“President Trump negotiated a good deal on behalf of the American people,” Boeing said in a news release.

US aerospace analyst Richard Aboulafia said the White House was engaging in “political theatre.”

“There’s no evidence of a discount,” said Aboulafia, vice president of analysis at Teal Group.

Earlier this month, the Pentagon released Air Force budget documents for fiscal year 2019 disclosing the $3.9 billion cost for the two-aircraft program. The same 2018 budget document, not adjusted for inflation, showed the price at $3.6 billion.

Boeing would only have so much room to offer discounts given the high proportion of supplier content on Air Force One, from refrigerators to missile warning systems, Aboulafia said by phone.

The big US defence contractor said the deal includes work to develop and build two planes, including unique items such as a communications package, internal and external stairs, large galleys and other equipment.

First Published: Feb 27, 2018 22:18 IST