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Trump, Boeing finalize cheaper deal for new Air Force One

By
James LaPorta
Air Force One taxis at the Pennsylvania Air National Guard’s 171st Air Refueling Wing in Coraopolis, Pa. Jan. 18, 2018. Photo by Senior Airman Kyle Brooks/U.S. Air National Guard
Air Force One taxis at the Pennsylvania Air National Guard’s 171st Air Refueling Wing in Coraopolis, Pa. Jan. 18, 2018. Photo by Senior Airman Kyle Brooks/U.S. Air National Guard

Feb. 27 (UPI) -- President Donald Trump and Boeing have finalized an informal deal for two new Air Force One aircraft valued at $3.9 billion, the White House and Boeing said Tuesday.

The deal is about $1.4 billion less than original estimates, which will cover two planes and all related upgrades specific to Air Force One.

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Trump held a meeting with Boeing officials last week to finalize the deal, with the president asking for the new planes to be delivered by 2021.

The current Boeing 747s used as Air Force One were ordered in the mid-1980s during the Reagan administration and were first flown in 1990 for President George H.W. Bush.

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"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," Boeing posted on Twitter.

The 2019 federal budget proposed by the Trump administration projects the aircraft will cost around $4 billion, which already reflects the cheaper deal worked out last week.

While it would not appear the White House is not saving money on the deal -- Trump criticized an announced $4 billion price tag in 2016 -- the White House and Boeing say, however, that the original quoted price of the planes was $5 billion, not $4 billion.

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Typically, presidents order upgrades to Air Force One during their second term and never get the chance to ride in the new aircraft. Although Trump pressed for a timeframe on delivery of the planes, officials say the aircraft aren't scheduled to be ready for use until 2024, after the Air Force has completed modifications and run tests on them.

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