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Boeing locks in deal for new Air Force One jets: Trump inflates savings

Military personnel salute as Air Force One, with President Barack Obama aboard, departs from Andrews Air Force Base Thursday. | AP Photo

WASHINGTON – Chicago based Boeing locked in a $3.9 billion contract with the U.S. Air Force for two jets to serve as Air Force One when flying the president.

Donald Trump has long complained about the price of the replacement planes, revamped 747 jumbo jets, and early in his presidency threatened to cancel the pending order. The government already had contracted with Boeing to develop the new planes.

The aircraft are to be “mission ready” by 2024.

Multiple news outlets reported that Trump wants the new planes to be repainted in red, white and blue, to replace the iconic distinctive baby blue logo on the aircraft.

The White House said in a statement, “The contract sets the total price for the two completed “Air Force One” replacement aircraft at $3.9 billion, saving the taxpayers over $1.4 billion from the initially proposed $5.3 billion cost-plus contract.”

But that price tag is exaggerates savings in the two-plane order.

In a 2016 Tweet, Trump said,

“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 Trump on Tuesday, December 6th, 2016 in a tweet

Here’s what Politifact concluded:

Our ruling

Trump tweeted, “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!”

The company is actually building two planes, not one. As for the price tag, Trump has more of a point. The project’s current cost is $3.73 billion, which is within shouting distance of Trump’s “more than $4 billion.” That’s a projection over 12 years. Also, that figure is an amount that could rise as time goes on.

However, Trump glosses over some important context. National-security requirements, not Boeing, have been the primary driver of high costs. Experts say the costs are broadly in line considering the high-tech and security requirements of a presidential plane.

The statement is partially accurate but leaves out important details, so we rate it Half True.

Below, the White House statementTHE WHITE HOUSE

Office of the Press Secretary

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

July 18, 2018

Statement from the Press Secretary on Air Force One Contract

Yesterday, the United States Air Force awarded a firm fixed price contract to The Boeing Company to design, modify, test, certify, and deliver two Presidential, mission-ready aircraft by 2024. Formal replacement efforts began in 2011 and the new aircraft will replace the current Air Force One planes that are now 31 years old. The contract sets the total price for the two completed “Air Force One” replacement aircraft at $3.9 billion, saving the taxpayers over $1.4 billion from the initially proposed $5.3 billion cost-plus contract.

President Donald J. Trump has emphasized the need to minimize the cost of replacing the two existing Air Force One aircraft. Yesterday’s action meets that objective and reflects the President’s commitment to our military and to protecting taxpayer dollars.