In December 2016, a month before his inauguration, President Donald Trump took to Twitter to complain about the “out of control” costs to build the new Boeing 747 Air Force One jets.
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
On Thursday, a new contract was announced after negotiation between the president and the long-time supplier of Air Force One jetliners. Boeing’s facility in West San Antonio was awarded a $3.9 billion contract to design, build, test, and deliver two new presidential aircraft by 2024.
According to the U.S. Air Force, more than $1.4 billion was shaved off of the original contract proposal.
“This award from the U.S. Air Force brings us a step closer to providing the next generation of Air Force One presidential aircraft,” Boeing said Friday in a statement. “We are eager to begin work on this important project building a flying White House at an excellent value for taxpayers.”
Trump told CBS News this week he’s changing the color scheme from its baby-blue-and-navy design that dates back to the Kennedy Administration to a red-white-and-blue palette.
“Air Force One is going to be incredible,” Trump told the news program. “It’s gonna be the top of the line, the top in the world. And it’s gonna be red, white and blue, which I think is appropriate.”
The fixed-price contract contains conditions for addressing “presidential quality items” and additional government-induced testing that might exceed the planned baseline, according to the Air Force.
The president’s planes are equipped with such custom items as a large office, lavatory, conference room, and a medical suite, as well as quarters for senior advisors, Secret Service officers, traveling press, and other guests.
On Feb. 20, Trump reached an agreement with Boeing Chairman, President and CEO Dennis Muilenburg to reduce the price tag.
Air Force One technically refers to any Air Force aircraft carrying the president, but during the past four administrations that call sign has been used exclusively to refer to one of two custom-built 31-year-old Boeing 747 aircraft, which the new jets will replace in 2024.
The current aircraft have been used to fly presidents since the George H.W. Bush Administration.
Production of the two new aircraft will take place at Boeing’s San Antonio facilities in Port San Antonio, the former Air Force base that now houses 1,900 acres of manufacturing, aerospace, defense, and cybersecurity industry.