Trump unveils historic change for next Air Force One

By Clyde Hughes

June 13 (UPI) -- President Donald Trump has unveiled his long-promised update for Air Force One -- and the plans include the first major redesign of the presidential plane in nearly 60 years.

In an interview with ABC News, Trump showed a mockup of the plane and its new lively colors -- red, white and blue.


Trump said the new jet is larger than the current aircraft, which have been in service since 1990. The new Air Force One will be based on the Boeing 747-8 and delivery is expected in 2024.

"In fact, we added things and I got $1.6 billion off the price," Trump said in the interview.

The president of the United States has used two models of Air Force One for decades, and will receive two of the new airliners for a total combined cost of $4.7 billion. Last year, the administration said the planes would cost $3.9 billion.

The Air Force said last week the White House Military Office requested to replace the old colors -- sky blue and white -- which were introduced by former first lady Jacqueline Kennedy after President John Kennedy took office in 1960.


The airplane has become an iconic symbol of the president's travels. Vice presidents sometimes use the plane, which is called Air Force One only when the president is on board.

The Trump administration hoped the new airplane would be available by December 2023, giving Trump a full year to fly in it, if he's re-elected next year.

"We have been asked to consider all opportunities to deliver the new Air Force One aircraft as soon as possible while providing the safest, suitable, and effective aircraft to meet presidential missions," the Air Force said in a statement. "We continue to look for every opportunity with Boeing to do this."

The Air Force is asking in its 2020 budget proposal for $758 million to start converting two 747 airliners it bought in 2017 into the pair of new Air Force Ones. Physical work on the planes is expected to start late next year.

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