The new Air Force One could be a plane originally meant for Russians.
The United States may be looking at jumbo jets originally built for a Russian airline as a way to cut costs for replacing the nation’s Air Force One fleet.
The fleet of Boeing 747s that fly as “Air Force One” are to be replaced during the next decade, but that effort has come under fire after President Trump publicly railed against the cost of doing so.
Now, the Air Force may have found a solution: 747s built for a Russian airline that has since gone bankrupt. The jets were never delivered and are now sitting at an aircraft storage facility in California, according to media reports.
Defense One, which first reported the news, writes “Air Force officials are now finalizing a contract with Boeing for the two planes, according to three defense officials with knowledge of the deal. The Pentagon could publicly announce the deal as soon as this week.”
“We’re working through the final stages of coordination to purchase two commercial 747-8 aircraft and expect to award a contract soon,” Air Force spokeswoman Ann Stefanek said in a statement to Defense One.
YOUR TAKE: Boeing 747 photos from readers (story continues below)
Officials from both the Air Force and Boeing told The Associated Press this week that they’re currently working on a deal involving Boeing 747s. But the parties declined discuss details or confirm specifically that the planes involved were meant for the Russian airline.
Speaking to CNN, a Boeing spokesman 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.”
The 747s in question – Boeing’s newest 747-8 passenger variant – were built for Russian carrier Transaero in 2015. But that airline went bankrupt the same year, leaving the 747-8s undelivered. If a deal is reached to find a home for them with the U.S. Air Force, they would be reconfigured to fly as the Air Force One fleet.
AP notes “the current list price for the Boeing 747-8 is $386.8 million, according to Boeing’s website. It was not clear whether that price would apply to planes that are already built and sitting in Boeing’s inventory. Also, buyers including airlines often get discounts for commercial planes. Additional…