Raise your hand if your daily commuter was made during the Reagan Administration. Now all of you that restore classic cars for a living put yours down, you don’t count. Chances are there aren’t many hands left, but that’s when the President’s ride was made. Air Force One was bright, shiny and new when President Reagan was in office, and President Trump has worked out a deal for an upgrade.
Even though Air Force One can actually refer to any airplane that has the President of the United States on board, it is now standard practice to use the term to refer to specific planes equipped to transport the Commander-in-Chief. The name is also a reminder that it is made to carry Commander of our Armed Forces, but that wasn’t always the name of the President’s official aircraft. The “Air Force One” call sign was createdafter a 1953 incident during which a Lockheed Constellation named Columbine II, carrying President Dwight D. Eisenhower, entered the same airspace as a commercial airline flight using the same flight number.
The New Air Force One will be coming from a company that has already made more than one deal with the President. According to Fox News, an informal deal has been struck with Boeing who will in charge of the new and improved Air Force One:
“EXCLUSIVE: President Trump has struck an ‘informal’ deal with Boeing for new Air Force One planes, according to the White House — resulting from negotiations that started before he took office.
‘President Trump has reached an informal deal with Boeing on a fixed price contract for the new Air Force One Program. Thanks to the president’s negotiations, the contract will save the taxpayers more than $1.4 billion,’ Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley said Tuesday.
The deal is worth $3.9 billion. Officials say it represents $1.4 billion in savings from estimates of over $5 billion for two airplanes and related costs.
A Boeing official said the agreement covers two aircraft, “including things unique to Air Force One such as a communications suite, internal and external stairs, large galleys and other equipment.”
The company said in a statement: ‘Boeing is proud to build the next generation of Air Force One, providing American Presidents with a flying White House at outstanding value to taxpayers. President Trump negotiated a good deal on behalf of the American people.’
The president has been working to negotiate a new Air Force One deal ever since the presidential transition period in late 2016, when he complained on Twitter about the cost of the Boeing project and threatened to cancel the order.
He said at the time the costs were ‘out of control.’
The planes are meant to replace the aging Reagan-era aircraft currently in use.
‘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,’ Trump said in December 2016.”
— FOX Business (@FoxBusiness) February 27, 2018
Boeing is proud to build the next generation of Air Force One, providing American Presidents with a flying White House at outstanding value to taxpayers. President Trump negotiated a good deal on behalf of the American people. pic.twitter.com/m0HtGfXVlv
— The Boeing Company (@Boeing) February 27, 2018
Unlike what the American people had to contend with in the previous administration, the President is highly aware of the tax dollars that will be going toward that project, and you can bet that it will be an excellent value. Even though the price tag is indeed steep, that amount is somewhat justified by the amount of time the aircraft is likely to be in service. For comparison, the current Air Force One has been faithfully carrying the most powerful men and women in the world for 30+ years.
Defense One reports that the President met directly with the CEO of Boeing to talk about the plans:
“Trump met with Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg at the White House on Tuesday to try to close stalled negotiations between the Air Force — which is responsible for buying the planes — and the aerospace firm, the sources said.
Air Force leaders and Boeing have been negotiating the terms for the complex modification of the two 747 jumbo airliners that the military service bought from the company last summer. One person with knowledge of the deliberations described the negotiations as professional but challenging.
Among the sticking points is the type of contract the government signs with Boeing. The Air Force wants to sign a fixed-price deal that would require Boeing to buy the planes at an agreed price, and then eat any cost overruns. Boeing signed a similar contract with the Air Force for new aerial refueling tanker aircraft in 2011. That refueling plane has run into numerous development problems costing the Chicago-based firm about $2 billion.
Trump and Muilenburg on Tuesday were able to break the gridlock that had stymied lower-level negotiations, the sources said. Although the deal has not been completely finalized, an announcement is anticipated soon.”
This certainly won’t be the most important move that President Trump makes while in office, but it’s nice to know that this particular business deal is being made by a businessman.
Do you think it was time for a new AF1?