MIAMI — According to a report from Marcus Weisgerber of DefenseOne.com, the United States Air Force is close to purchasing two 747-800i aircraft originally bound for defunct Russian airline Transaero to become the new Air Force One fleet.
The two Transaero bound aircraft have been in various stages of storage in the California desert and Everett, Washington for some time now after Transaero shutdown in October of 2015. With little demand for passenger aircraft the size of the 747, Boeing has been struggling to secure a buyer for these frames.
Both Transaero NTU 748’s (LN1519 & 1523) are parked next to each other on the flightline. pic.twitter.com/TrVjcZG9r7
— Chris Edwards (@AeroimagesChris) February 10, 2017
In the DefenseOne report, a US Air Force spokeswomen said: “We’re working through the final stages of coordination to purchase two commercial 747-8 aircraft and expect to award a contract soon.”
Also in the report, a Boeing spokeswomen said: “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.”
Should this order become reality, the United States Air Force and taxpayers would likely save considerable money compared to purchasing a newly build 747. This would fulfill one of President Donald Trump’s early goals as President of the United States of saving taxpayer dollars. In December of 2016, Donald Trump took a shot at Boeing on Twitter with the following tweet:
Boeing is building a brand new 747 Air Force One for future presidents, but costs are out of control, more than $4 billion. Cancel order!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 6, 2016
Boeing responded to this by saying “We are currently under contract for $170 million to help determine the capabilities of these complex military aircraft that serve the unique requirements of the President of the United States. We look forward to working with the U.S. Air Force on subsequent phases of the program allowing us to deliver the best planes for the President at the best value for the American taxpayer.”
In February of this year, Donald Trump spoke to thousands of Boeing employees at the rollout ceremony for the 787-10. While he did not comment on the Air Force One replacement talks during his speech at the Dreamliner factory, he did have praise for Boeing saying ““We are here today to celebrate American engineering and American manufacturing,” although the wings, fuselage sections and empennage of the 787 are built in Italy and Japan, and other components such as the wiring, is produced in Mexico.”
Cover image by @AviationCOncepts on Instagram and Twitter.