Economy

Bankrupted Russian Firm's Jets May Become Air Force One

Bankrupted Russian Firm's Jets May Become Air Force One

Boeing had said it expected to add the Air Force One jets to its backlog, which now numbers 20 planes - five passenger models and 15 freighters.The redeployment to the Air Force of jets already built for another customer would effectively reduce Boeing's future 747 production plans by two aircraft.

The U.S. Air Force and Boeing are close to reaching a deal to procure two 747-8 aircraft that will be converted into presidential planes, Defense One reported Tuesday.

The two planes were once destined for sale to Transaero, a Russian carrier that collapsed in 2015. Officially, the cost a new 747-8 is just under $390 million, though in this case the price of buying the planes themselves is likely to be much lower. The Air Force is negotiating with Boeing over the terms and requirements for the switchover from the two almost 30-year-old 747-200s that are now being used.

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"We're working through the final stages of coordination to purchase two commercial 747-8 aircraft and expect to award a contract soon", Air Force spokeswoman Ann Stefanek said in an email while not directly discussing specific aircraft. So Boeing took them back, flight-tested them, and put them in storage in the Mojave Desert.

The USAF is reportedly finalising the contracts with Boeing and the Pentagon could publicly announce the deal later this week, DefenceOne reported.

The current Air Force One aircraft were ordered by President Reagan and delivered under President George H.W. Bush's administration.

More news: Priebus Allies: White House Chaos 'Unsustainable,' Trump 'Demeaned' Him

The Pentagon's 2018 budget request, sent to Congress in February, shows that the Air Force plans to spend almost $3.2 billion between 2018 and 2022 on two new Air Force One jets.

Officials said the Air Force is getting a "good deal" on the planes, which are, on average, listed at $386.8 million each.

One of the first moves President Trump made right before he became president was to openly criticize Boeing for quoting a price tag that was higher than he thought it should be for new aircraft; the quote had been for $4 billion.

One source and the U.S. official stressed that the deal is not final. But later that year, the airline went bankrupt and was unable to pay for the planes. He later boasted of negotiating with Boeing to reduce the cost.

Various reports have suggested that the planes, bearing the tail numbers N894BA and N895BA, might be sold to Iran Air or used for spare parts.

The new planes would go into service around 2024.


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