Boeing and White House Reach Informal Deal for Two Air Force One Jets

According to Reuters, the White House has confirmed that an agreement has been reached with Boeing for two new 747-8 jets to replace the current Air Force One planes, two Boeing VC-25As which began operations back in 1990.

According to Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley, “President Trump has reached an informal deal with Boeing on a fixed-price contract for the new Air Force One Program.”

Gidley also advised that the deal struck between President Trump and Boeing would save the taxpayer US$1.4 billion. Previously, President Trump had tweeted that the costs to build the two new replacements was too high and that the federal government should “Cancel order!”

In a news release issued by Boeing, the company stated: “President Trump negotiated a good deal on behalf of the American people.”

The Boeing 747-8s will act as an airborne White House able to fly in worst-case security scenarios, such as nuclear war, and they will be modified with military avionics, advanced communications and a self-defense system.

However, U.S. aerospace analyst Richard Aboulafia has made it clear he feels the White House was engaging in “political theater,” indicating that: “There’s no evidence of a discount.”

Aboulafia made specific reference to the fact that the Pentagon released Air Force budget documents for fiscal year 2019 earlier this month, disclosing the US$3.9 billion cost for the two-aircraft program. The same 2018 budget document, not adjusted for inflation, showed the price at US$3.6 billion.

According to Franklin Turner, a partner specializing in government contracts at law firm McCarter & English, the “informal deal” will need to be codified in a formal contract with comprehensive, complex terms and conditions, suggesting a final deal was still far off.