Trump strikes $3.9B deal for Air Force One replacement planes

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President Trump has brokered a $3.9 billion deal with Boeing for two new Air Force One planes, the White House said Tuesday, claiming the agreement comes in at more than $1 billion below original cost estimates for the two 747 airliners.

“Thanks to the president’s negotiations, the contract will save the taxpayers more than $1.4 billion,” deputy White House press secretary Hogan Gidley said in a statement to the Washington Examiner.

In December 2016, Trump claimed that the $4 billion price tag for the two planes was “out of control” and that the order should be canceled.

A savings of $1.4 billion implies that the cost of the program had ballooned to $5.3 billion, well north of Trump’s original projection. It’s unclear at which point the total cost went up, or why.

A Boeing official, when asked about the increase, listed the work to be covered by the contract.

“The price as agreed includes work to develop and build two presidential aircraft, including things unique to Air Force One such as a communications suite, internal and external stairs, large galleys and other equipment, and structural changes designed to protect and sustain the president and those on board for an extended period of time,” the official said. “This includes some work already on contract, such as development and design work and two 747-8s. It also includes the Engineering, Manufacturing, and Development (EMD) contract, which has not yet been awarded.”

The agreement comes more than a year after Trump began working to negotiate an affordable contract for the plane he and his successors will use for years to come.

“I think Boeing is doing a little bit of a number. We want Boeing to make a lot of money, but not that much money,” the president said in December 2016.

According to the White House, the deal reached Tuesday is “informal” and could be subject to changes before a final contract is agreed upon. The current pair of Air Force One planes were first flown in 1987 under the Reagan administration. The upgraded aircraft will be modeled off of Boeing’s 747-8.

Fox News first reported the deal on Tuesday.