Trump seeks to can­cel Air Force One deal

Boe­ing re­lies on fed­eral gov­ern­ment for de­fense, space and se­cu­rity busi­ness which is worth $30 bil­lion a year

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - WORLD - By REUTERS in Wash­ing­ton and New York

US pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump urged the gov­ern­ment on Tues­day to can­cel an or­der with Boe­ing for a re­vamped Air Force One — a prom­i­nent sym­bol of the pres­i­dency — com­plain­ing that costs were out of con­trol.

It was the lat­est ex­am­ple of Trump us­ing his podium, of­ten via brief Twit­ter mes­sages, to rat­tle com­pa­nies and for­eign coun­tries as he seeks to shake up busi­ness as usual in Wash­ing­ton. Trump, who would take of­fice on Jan 20, took aim at what he called cost over­runs even though the plane is only in devel­op­ment stages.

“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!” Trump said on Twit­ter. It was not im­me­di­ately clear what prompted the tim­ing of his com­plaint.

“The plane is to­tally out of con­trol. I think it’s ridicu­lous. 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,” he told reporters later.

Boe­ing, which has built planes for US pres­i­dents since 1943, has not yet be­gun build­ing the two replacements for the cur­rent Air Force One planes, which are sched­uled to be in ser­vice by 2024.

Boe­ing re­lies on the US mil­i­tary and other arms of the fed­eral gov­ern­ment for a sig­nif­i­cant share of its de­fense, space and se­cu­rity busi­ness which is worth $30 bil­lion a year.

The US Air Force, which op­er­ates the pres­i­den­tial planes, first an­nounced in Jan­uary 2015 that Boe­ing’s 747-8 would be used to re­place the two cur­rent pres­i­den­tial planes.

Air­borne White House

The planes can fly di­rect from Wash­ing­ton to Hong Kong, 1,600 kilo­me­ters far­ther than the cur­rent Air Force One. They are de­signed to be an air­borne White House able to fly in worst-case se­cu­rity sce­nar­ios, such as nu­clear war.

The cur­rent Air Force plan en­vi­sions ex­ten­sive mod­i­fi­ca­tions to a Boe­ing 747-8, in­clud­ing mil­i­tary avion­ics, ad­vanced com­mu­ni­ca­tions and a self-de­fense sys­tem, ac­cord­ing to bud­get doc­u­ments seen by Reuters.

Trump is known for his love of his own Boe­ing 757 jet. In a 2015 Rolling Stone pro­file, he said his plane was “big­ger than Air Force One, which is a step down from this in ev­ery way”.

The plane is to­tally out of con­trol. ... We want Boe­ing to make a lot of money but not that much money.” Don­ald Trump, US pres­i­dent-elect Fire­works ex­plode next to riot po­lice on Tues­day in Athens, Greece, fol­low­ing an an­niver­sary rally mark­ing the 2008 po­lice shoot­ing of a 15-year-old stu­dent.

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