The US Air Force is reportedly purchasing a pair of Boeing 747 jetliners that were abandoned by a bankrupt Russian airline. The 747s are reportedly slated to serve as the replacement to the current Air Force One. Prior to his inauguration, US President Donald Trump took to Twitter to rage about how the cost of the Air Force One was too expensive. "Cancel order!" he wrote then.
Although the US Air Force (USAF) has decided to go ahead with its plans of buying two new aircraft to replace the current presidential transport, it still found a way to cut the cost of the $386.8 million price tag for each of the two 747s.
The two 747s that are slated to be transformed as the new Air Force One fleet were reportedly originally ordered in 2013 by Transaero – Russia's second-largest airline, which went bankrupt in 2015. The airline failed to take ownership of the two jets and Boeing is reportedly currently holding them in the Mojave Desert at the Southern California Logistics Airport in Victorville.
The USAF is reportedly finalising the contracts with Boeing and the Pentagon could publicly announce the deal later this week, DefenceOne reported.
"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 a statement.
"We're still working toward a deal to provide two 747-8s to the Air Force — this deal is focused on providing a great value for the Air Force and the best price for the taxpayer," Boeing spokeswoman Caroline Hutcheson said in a statement.
According to the Pentagon's 2018 budget request to Congress, the USAF reportedly plans on spending around $3.2bn between 2018 and 2022 on two new Air Force One jets.