It’s really great to be the king when you have Twitter at your disposal. It’s also entertaining for anyone curious to see what President-elect Donald Trump will “tweet” next. But it’s also disconcerting to see the silly things he prioritizes for Twitter. His latest Twitter nonsense concerns Air Force One. Specifically, Trump says that Boeing should not build the next Air Force One due to high costs.
“Boeing is building a brand new 747 Air Force One for future presidents, but costs are out of control, more than $4 billion,” Trump blasted. “Cancel order!”
As The Washington Post reports, Boeing won the contract to build the new Air Force One in January 2015, “but it wasn’t much of a competition.” The 747-8 model is the only plane made in the States that meets the requirements of the Air Force One.
Trump isn’t happy with the whole thing. “The plane is totally out of control. It’s going to be over $4 billion for Air Force One program, and I think it’s ridiculous,” he told reporters on Tuesday morning at Trump Tower. 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.”
“Air Force One has unique communications, safety, and self-protection features so that the president can function under the most trying circumstances — like nuclear war,” defense consultant Loren Thompson told the Post. “The price tag is driven by the demands of the mission.”
Teal Group aerospace analyst Richard Aboulafia thinks Trump’s tweet was “completely nonsensical and based on exactly nothing. But it’s very difficult to adjudicate on complicated program management and military requirements questions with Twitter as your medium.”
Trump previously criticized the Air Force Ones currently in operations on the campaign trail, saying that the old plans are a burden for taxpayers who are paying “a fortune” to keep them in operation.
Trump isn’t wrong on maintenance costs, even though he’d likely exaggerate them. The two Air Force One planes in use are close to reaching their 30-year life expectancy, Gizmodo reports. They need to be replaced, as “it’s becoming way too expensive and way too difficult,” according to Air Force executive Kevin W. Buckley’s statements to Military.com earlier this year.
But that doesn’t mean Trump’s $4 billion figure is accurate. The Air Force budgeted $1.65 billion for the new planes between 2015 and 2019. The list place of the Boeing 747-8 is $379 million, Gizmodo notes.
Air Force One planes aren’t your average planes either. They’re equipped to handle classified information communication, evade surface-to-air missiles, and protect passengers from a nuclear blast. Such features likely cost money beyond what you’d pay for a regular airliner. But Trump’s tweet seems to indicate he might not be fully aware of how Air Force One works.