It’s no secret. The two Jumbo jets that serve the president as Air Force One are old. Too old to carry any U.S. president, according to Donald Trump. After all, Trump knows a little about the airline business. His Trump Shuttle was in service from 1989 to 1992. Trump bought the planes from Eastern Airlines. Eastern was the originator of the Boston-New York Shuttle, but Trump saw an opportunity and he took it. But he couldn’t make money so the shuttle ended. But Trump learned from his airline experience. He understands the cost of purchasing, maintaining, and servicing aircraft. When Trump took office, he immediately put an end to the Air Force overspending on presidential aircraft. Instead of asking Boeing to build new planes for the president, Trump canceled the Boeing order. He gave the Air Force the task of finding a cheaper way to build Air Force One.
The Air Force went to work and found two used Jumbo jets from a Russian bankrupt airline. Two Boeing 747-8 commercial airliners will be the next Air Force One. Trump may not use them because they will not be ready for service until 2024. Work on converting the jets will begin in 2019. According to the U.S. Air Force, the planes will go through an electrical power system upgrade and a mission communication system upgrade will also part of the conversion. A medical facility, a self-defense system, and an executive interior will also be part of the upgrade.
Boeing’s list price for a 747-8 jumbo jet is $383.8 million. But the Air Force got a sizable discount on the two Russian jets because they were sitting in a California desert. Making these jumbo jets presidential worthy will be a costly endeavor, but in the end, the hand-polished blue, white, and silver aircraft will announce the arrival of one of the most powerful men in the world. That man will not be Trump. But Trump is the man who found a cheaper way to buy a jumbo jet for presidential use.
Presidents have been using Air Force One even since Teddy Roosevelt put his foot on the first plane in 1910. But the government didn’t start buying airplanes until 1933, so Franklin Roosevelt could get around faster. The first official flight was in 1943. That’s when Roosevelt went to Morocco. The U.S. has many presidential airplanes in its history, but the two new Jumbo jets will be the best airline production and technology can offer.