Trump, Boeing finalize deal for new Air Force One aircraft

Alicia Cross
March 2, 2018

U.S. President Donald Trump has reached an informal agreement with Boeing on a fixed price contract for the new Air Force One program, the White House told Fox News exclusively on Tuesday.

The White House said the contract will save taxpayers $1.4 billion compared to original cost estimates for the new presidential aircraft. In their report they said that the estimated cost of the planes was $4 billion, but that Trump was trying to get the cost down. Air Force leaders and the Chicago-based plane maker have been negotiating the terms for the modification of the two jets that the military branch purchased previous year, according to Defense One.

The new Air Force One planes should be in use by 2024. According to an official with knowledge of the program, though, the total cost estimate was always over $5 billion - the official explained that Trump simply "was given bad information in 2016" when he tweeted that the cost was $4 billion.

During the transition, then president-elect Trump protested against Boeing's initial asking price. If the contract has a fixed price of $3.9 billion, Boeing would be responsible for any cost overruns. "If Boeing had to take a loss on this to make the president happy, I think they would do it". "President Trump negotiated a good deal on behalf of the American people", Boeing said in a statement.

Mr. Trump has been pushing for a new deal since late 2016, when he said the project's costs were "out of control" and threatened to cancel the order. But neither Boeing nor the White House provided any details, including the cost of the airframes, about where the savings came from.

The President, who has repeatedly expressed his exasperation at his aging aircraft, wanted to meet face-to-face with Muilenburg to reach the deal, two officials said.

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But much of the costs for the presidential plane come from pricey and complex modifications required to turn the aircraft into the flying fortresses.

Obama's administration selected the newest upgraded version of AF1 in January of 2015, which are Boeing VC-25Bs, or in non-militarized terms, the 747-8.

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 White House credited Trump's negotiations with the aircraft manufacturer for the smaller bill in the final deal.

The negotiations covered the overhaul of two 747 airliners.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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