Trump, Boeing reach 'informal' agreement for new Air Force One

Trump, Boeing reach 'informal' agreement for new Air Force One

The White House announced Tuesday that it had reached a deal with Boeing for two presidential airplanes for $3.9 billion, ending months of negotiations that began after Donald Trump threatened to cancel the program even before he took office. He said the contract will save taxpayers more than $1.4 billion, but those savings could not be independently confirmed.

But the deal the White House now supports will carry costs barely below the $4 billion mark.

A Boeing official said the price includes work to develop and build two presidential aircraft, including features unique to Air Force One such as a communications suite, internal and external stairs, large galleys and other equipment, as well as structural changes created to protect and sustain the President and those on board for an extended period of time.

The legendary Air Force One jets are light blue and white liveried, with "United States of America" emblazoned on the fuselage and an American flag on the tail. 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 past year, according to Defense One.

The Boeing 747-8 was first selected to serve as the next Air Force One in January 2015. But previous estimates had been around $4.4 billion, a number that President-elect Trump himself lambasted in December 2016. But in 2016, before Mr Trump was president, he tweeted that they were too expensive.

Boeing chief executive Dennis Muilenburg met multiple times with Trump to discuss the Air Force One contract, most recently last week.

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So it started at $4 billion, went up to $5 billion, settled at $3.9 billion and saved $1.4 billion. "President Trump negotiated a good deal on behalf of the American people", Boeing said in a statement. Now, the White House and Boeing said that information was wrong, and it was actually $5 billion.

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.

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

At the time, The White House appeared to cast doubt on the figures quoted by Mr Trump. The company has booked $2.9 billion before taxes, or $1.9 billion after taxes, in charges for cost overruns associated with its KC-46 tanker, which is based on a 767 airframe.

The Air Force purchased two existing 747 airframes that built for the Russian airline Transaeo, which is now defunct. After the attacks of September 11, President George W. Bush was whisked away on Air Force One, and he responded to the crisis from there.

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