Trump wants to cancel $4 billion Air Force One order from Boeing

Posted at 10:08 AM, Dec 06, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-06 12:08:09-05

By Chris Isidore and Jon Ostrower

NEW YORK — Donald Trump wants to cancel a government order for a new Air Force One.

The president-elect said in a tweet early Tuesday that the new Boeing 747 jet that’s being built to carry “future presidents” already costs more than $4 billion, and that he wants to cancel the order.

“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!”

Asked by reporters Tuesday morning about the tweet, he responded, “Well the plane is totally out of control. It’s going to be over $4 billion for [the] Air Force One program,” he said. “And 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.”

So far the Air Force has allocated $2.9 billion through 2021 for two new Air Force Ones, which will replace the current fleet. The new planes aren’t expected to be ready to fly until 2022. The Air Force has already spent about $93 million preparing to build the new jets.

The Air Force has yet to place a formal order for the planes. It has chosen the latest version of Boeing’s jumbo jet, the 747-8, as the platform for the new Air Force One planes. Building the basic planes would take about two years. Then modifications to protect the aircraft from attack, install VIP accommodations and allow it to be refueled mid-flight would delay the delivery two more years.

Boeing builds the 747 at its factories in Washington state, and it currently has a large back order for its commercial jets, especially the 787 Dreamliner. And airlines regularly cancel orders for planes, although it would be a loss of both prestige and revenue should the Air Force drop plans to build two new Air Force Ones.

The 747-8 has a longer range, can travel faster with a heavier maximum takeoff weight and it gets better fuel economy than the 747-200 that’s used for the current Air Force Ones.

Boeing, which is the nation’s largest exporter, has built the plane used by every president since Franklin Roosevelt. It did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Recently retired Boeing CEO Jim McNerney was named just last week to an all-star team of corporate executives who will advise Trump on jobs and the economy. Shares of Boeing were slightly lower after Trump’s comment.

— CNN’s Kevin Liptak contributed to this story