President-elect Donald Trump says construction of the next Air Force One -- a Boeing 747-8 -- should be canceled due to the costs.
Trump tweeted Tuesday morning:
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
"The plane is totally out of control. It's going to be over $4 billion for the Air Force One program," Trump later said in the lobby of Trump Tower Tuesday. “I think its 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.”
Boeing released this statement in response.
"We are currently under contract for $170 million to help determine the capabilities of this complex military aircraft that serves the unique requirements of the President of the United States. We look forward to working with the US Air Force on subsequent phases of the program allowing us to deliver the best plane for the president at the best value for the American taxpayer."
Multiple reports say the total cost for the new 747-8s would be between $2,7 billion and $3.2 billion.
UPDATE: White House says some of Trump's Air Force One statistics don't appear to reflect arrangements between Boeing, Department of Defense— Reuters Politics (@ReutersPolitics) December 6, 2016
The Wall Street Journal reports the two current Air Force One planes, which are heavily-modified 747-200s, are due to reach the end of their designed 30-year lifespan next year. Although Boeing has a contract to begin development on the new versions, it has not yet reached a deal to build the planes.
KING 5 Aviation Specialist Glenn Farley says Boeing would be paid to build the basic airplane. The rest of the cost would be paid to a contractor who would be hired to make extensive modifications to the plane.
The government would not just be buying one but two 747-8s. And they aren't your average passenger jets. They would undergo heavy modifications needed to make the planes into mobile command centers complete with an anti-missile system and countermeasures.
The executive director of SPEEA, the union which represents Boeing engineers, tweeted this in response.
@Reuters The Presidential airplanes aren't just fancy airplanes. They are mobile Whitehouses hardened to survive WWIII.— SPEEA (@speea) December 6, 2016
When you have to harden two 747s to withstand an electromagnetic blast from a nuclear explosion, the price tag is high.— Jon Ostrower (@jonostrower) December 6, 2016
U.S. senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., and Congressman Rick Larsen released a joint statement in response to Trump.
“Replacing the 26-year-old Air Force One aircraft will support good-paying jobs throughout Northwest Washington and is important to ensuring the safety and security of future Presidents. The President-elect’s tweet does nothing to change those basic facts.”
CNBC reports that according to Trump's 2016 financial disclosure, he owns $50,001 to $100,000 in Boeing stock and listed the income from those dividends at $1,001 to $2,500.