Thu, Jul 19, 2018 - Page 10 News List

Boeing gets US$3.9 billion contract for Air Force One jets

Reuters, WASHINGTON

Boeing Co has received a US$3.9 billion contract to build two 747-8 aircraft for use as Air Force One by the US president, due to be delivered by December 2024 and painted red, white and blue, officials said on Tuesday.

Seattle-based Boeing’s previously awarded contract for development work had been expanded to include design, modification and fielding of two mission-ready presidential 747-8 aircraft, the Pentagon said.

The contract followed the outlines of an informal deal reached between Boeing and the White House in February.

That agreement came after US President Donald Trump objected to the US$4 billion price tag of a previous Air Force One deal, saying in a Twitter post that “costs are out of control.”

The White House in February said that the new deal would save taxpayers more than US$1.4 billion, but those savings could not be independently confirmed.

Air Force budget documents released in February for fiscal year 2019 disclosed a US$3.9 billion cost for the two-aircraft program. The same budget document for this year, not adjusted for inflation, showed the price at US$3.6 billion.

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-defense system.

It was little changed from the informal agreement reached in February, calling for two 747-8 aircraft to be built for US$3.9 billion and delivered by December 2024, said a congressional official, who had been briefed on the deal.

Trump told CBS that the new model Air Force One would be updated on the inside and have a different exterior color scheme from the white and two shades of blue dating back to President John F. Kennedy’s administration.

“It’s going to be the top of the line, the top in the world, and it’s going to be red, white and blue, which I think is appropriate,” Trump said.

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