Air Force One is seen parked on the tarmac at Joint Base Andrews, Md., on Dec. 6. Wednesday, Boeing addressed President-elect Donald Trump's previous remarks about the cost of the next presidential aircraft by assuring him the price tag will be under $4 billion. The new jets are expected to carry the president of the United States beginning in the 2020s. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo
PALM BEACH, Fla., Dec. 21 (UPI) -- Just weeks after President-elect Donald Trump publicly blasted aerospace pioneer Boeing for the anticipated cost of the next version of Air Force One, the company on Wednesday assured the commander in-waiting that the price tag would be less than he expected.
Trump said Dec. 6 that costs of developing the next presidential aircraft, then estimated at $4.2 billion, are "out of control" and encouraged the government to cancel the order.
Wednesday, though, Boeing's chief executive told Trump that the cost for a pair of new modified presidential 747s is manageable.
"We're going to get it done for less than [$4 billion], and we're committed to working together to make sure that happens," Boeing's Dennis Muilenburg told Trump at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida Wednesday, offering the president-elect a firm commitment on the cost.
Trump sounded open to the renewed assurances from Boeing that the planes could be delivered at an acceptable cost.
"We're looking to cut a tremendous amount of money off the price," he said.
President Barack Obama
boards Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews, Md., in 2014. Obama and presidents George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush all flew aboard this particular aircraft during their time in office. The heavily-modified Boeing 747 was delivered to the White House in 1990. File Photo by Drew Angerer/UPI/Pool
Boeing is presently developing the secure communications and defense systems that will be installed on the new jumbo jets, which are expected to fly U.S. presidents beginning sometime in the mid 2020s.
The current presidential planes were delivered more than a quarter-century ago for President George H. W. Bush and has been flown by himself and presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama.
"We're going to make sure that [Trump] gets the best capability and that it's done affordably," Muilenburg added.
However, it's entirely possible that Trump won't ever fly in an official capacity on the new planes. Previous estimates from the U.S. Air Force placed delivery of the new presidential jumbo jets around 2024 -- at the very end of Trump's administration, if he serves two terms.
Trump, who also made similar remarks this month about Lockheed Martin's F-35 Lightning II program, also met with that company's CEO, Marillyn Hewson, at his Palm Beach resort Wednesday. Details of any progress weren't available for that discussion.
"It's a dance, you know. It's a little bit of a dance," Trump said. "We're going to get the costs down and we're going to do it beautifully."