New Air Force One Budget
Two weeks after President Donald Trump threatened to kill the plan to replace aging Air Force One jets, Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg walked into Mar-a-Lago with some ideas for slashing its estimated $4.4 billion cost. In a Dec. 21 meeting with the president-elect, Muilenburg laid out four proposals. One of them would have cut about $1 billion, and Trump was soon boasting that he had saved that very amount.
But the Air Force — which oversees the jets’ acquisition and operation — rejected all of the proposals, saying that they would have produced a plane unsuited to the uniquely demanding requirements of flying the commander in chief in peace and war.
Since then, Air Force and White House officials have sought other ways to lower the cost of the aircraft, service spokeswoman Ann Stefanek said in an email. Added to some changes already in the works before Trump’s criticism, these are expected to save significant money.
Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg met with President Trump last week, as the men hammered out a new deal on a contract for two new Air Force One aircraft. While an agreement has yet to be finalized, the US Air Force (USAF) is seeking that Boeing agrees to a fixed-price contract that will see them absorb any cost overruns on the conversion of two 747 jumbo airliners that the service bought last summer. According to the USAF’s 2019 Fiscal Year funding proposal released last week, $4 billion has been requested for the project, an estimate that Trump had described last year as too expensive, even though only $170 million had been awarded to Boeing at the time for preliminary designs—later boasting that he had managed to knock $1 billion off that $4 billion estimate. Time will tell how much savings were made, if any.