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Wednesday, February 20, 2019

NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. President-elect Donald Trump on Tuesday urged the government to cancel an order with Boeing Co to develop a revamped Air Force One – one of the most prominent symbols of the U.S. presidency – saying costs were out of control.

Trump, who takes office on Jan. 20, pledged during his unconventional campaign for the White House that he would put his skills as a businessman to work for taxpayers, and had griped about the cost of President Barack Obama’s use of the presidential aircraft.

It was not immediately clear what prompted his complaint about Boeing on Tuesday, but a spokesman said that Trump was sending a message that he intends to save taxpayers’ money.

“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 said on Twitter before making a surprise appearance in the lobby of Trump Tower in New York, where he amplified his comments.

“The plane is totally out of control. 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,” he told reporters.

It was not clear what Trump’s source of information was for the cost. The budgeted costs for the Air Force One replacement program are $2.87 billion for the fiscal years 2015 through 2021, according to budget documents.

A March 2016 report from the Government Accountability Office, a watchdog agency, estimated the total cost of the two 747’s, which have to be extensively modified so they can function as an airborne White House, was estimated at $3.2 billion.

Boeing has not yet been awarded the money to build the two proposed Air Force One replacements. It is currently working on engineering and designing the aircraft.

“We are currently under contract for $170 million to help determine the capabilities of these complex military aircraft that serve the unique requirements of the President of the United States,” the company said in a statement.

“We look forward to working with the U.S. Air Force on subsequent phases of the program allowing us to deliver the best planes for the president at the best value for the American taxpayer.”

Boeing shares dipped after Trump’s tweet and were down around 0.5 percent at midday. Shares of several other major defense contractors were also lower.

NOT A ‘VANILLA’ JUMBO JET

A wealthy real estate developer, Trump used his own Boeing 757 to campaign around the country, pledging to shake up Washington.

A Trump spokesman said that his comments about the plane reflected the president-elect’s desire to keep down costs across the board, and so save taxpayers’ money.

The U.S. Air Force, which operates the presidential planes, first announced in January 2015 that Boeing’s 747-8 would be used to replace the two current planes that transport the U.S. president.

The Air Force has two planes in case one breaks down or needs to be taken out of service for maintenance. The two replacements for the current Air Force One planes are scheduled to be in service by the 2024 fiscal year.

Boeing officials were caught off guard by Trump’s comments since the company is simply meeting requirements mapped out by the Air Force in consultation with the White House, said defense consultant Loren Thompson, who has close ties to Boeing and other companies.

The cost of the planes is high because of the unique security requirements and communications equipment, Thompson said.

“Air Force One has unique mission requirements, including possibly having to operate in a nuclear war,” Thompson said. “Of course it’s not like buying a vanilla Boeing jumbo jet.”

U.S. presidents have used Boeing planes since 1943, according to the company’s website.

The 747-8 planes, 240 feet long (73 meters) long with a wing span of 224 feet (68 meters), can fly direct from Washington to Hong Kong, 1,000 miles (1,600 km) farther than the current Air Force One.

In a September 2015 Rolling Stone profile of Trump, early on in his presidential campaign, he was quoted as gushing about the capabilities of his own Boeing plane.

“I bought this from Paul Allen and gutted it top to bottom. It’s bigger than Air Force One, which is a step down from this in every way. Rolls-Royce engines; seats 43. Did you know it was featured on the Discovery Channel as the world’s most luxurious jetliner?” he said.

(Additional reporting by Emily Stephenson, Mike Stone, Susan Heavey, Andrea Shalal and Doina Chiacu in Washington and Steve Holland, Alana Wise, Jeffrey Dastin, and Lewis Krauskopf in New York, and Alexander Cornwell in Dubai; Writing by Roberta Rampton; Editing by Frances Kerry)

IMAGE: Air Force One with U.S President Barack Obama aboard lands at the Eleftherios Venizelos International airport in Athens, Greece, November 15, 2016. REUTERS/Michalis Karagiannis

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16 responses to “Trump Tweets: Boeing Targeted For Cost Of New Air Force One”

  1. dbtheonly says:

    I wonder how much he’ll charge the taxpayer to use his own plane as AF1?

    Who needs a measly $400k, when the taxpayers will pick up the tab on anything you want to charge to them.

    • I Am Helpy says:

      I’m OK with Trump opting to fly around in a non-hardened 25+ year old plane because his fee-fees were hurt.

      • dbtheonly says:

        Tell me that after you see the bill Trump dumps on the taxpayers.

        • dpaano says:

          As I said, we already pay for the upkeep and maintenance of both of the Air Force One’s that the president flies….so spending money on Trump’s jet wouldn’t be any different…..it might even cost us less money in the long run!

    • dpaano says:

      Well, we pay for the maintenance on Air Force One already, so we wouldn’t be spending much more taking care of Trump’s jet. I wonder, however, if they’ll make him take the TRUMP name off the plane! That would certainly be a blow to his ego!

      • dbtheonly says:

        Since when has anyone gotten Trump to do anything?

        Giving Trump an expense account is like telling the Yahoos that Hillary is running a child sex ring out of a pizza place. No good can come of it.

        • dpaano says:

          No one plans on giving Trump an expense account….not sure where you got that idea. We, the taxpayers, already pay for the use and maintenance of the current Air Force One jets, so if he decides to use his OWN jet (and if he’s allowed to do so), it’ll be on our taxpayer money and he’ll reap the benefits! As far as I’m concerned, that’s conflict of interest!

          • dbtheonly says:

            And President Minority will be the recipient and judge of the bills Trump Airlines submits. Trump Airlines will decide how much to bill the govt. for those traveling, secret service, staff, MPOTUS, family, contributions, and all. Trump Airlines will decide how much to charge for food and drinks served on board. Trump will get a fee on each pack of Trump Peanuts served, the expense for which will be passed on to the govt.

            The mind boggles at the money Trump will make.

          • dpaano says:

            Gotcha….you’re right! And, that’s my biggest complaint. Couldn’t that be considered a conflict of interest?

  2. I Am Helpy says:

    Why, it is almost like this thin-skinned whiner was upset about something else, like say an article mentioning that Boeing thought his trade policies were moronic published 20-odd minutes earlier.

    There has never been a bigger manbaby weenie in politics than Trump. Good thing the Republicans are going to impeach him.

    • Cathleenhgarcia says:

      Google is paying 97$ per hour! Work for few hours and have longer with friends & family! !mj309d:
      On tuesday I got a great new Land Rover Range Rover from having earned $8752 this last four weeks.. Its the most-financialy rewarding I’ve had.. It sounds unbelievable but you wont forgive yourself if you don’t check it
      !mj309d:
      ➽➽
      ➽➽;➽➽ http://GoogleFinanciallJobsCash309HomeNetworkGetPay$97Hour ★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★::::::!mj309d:….,….

    • dpaano says:

      We can only hope….however, if that happens, we’re stuck with Pence, who is even worse in many ways!

  3. yabbed says:

    Perhaps as some are suggesting Trump is simply positioning his plane to be used as the Presidential plane but that’s not going to happen. The feds cannot harden that plane and equip it to presidential safety standards. The best they could do is install a tweet blocker.

  4. Dan S says:

    The President Elect tweets & Boeing stock drops $1B ????

  5. dpaano says:

    I wonder how much it’ll cost the taxpayers to bring Trump’s jet up to speed for a presidential aircraft. Either that, or maybe he’s going to take a boat to visit other countries in lieu of a jet…..not sure how he plans on traveling if he doesn’t have the use of HIS jet or Air Force One!

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