NEVER afraid to voice his opinion, President-elect Donald Trump has found a new target for his vitriol, although this time the source of his outrage may take some by surprise.
Trump, who is set to take office in only six weeks, has indicated that he wants to slash budget costs right off the bat by cancelling the order for two new Boeing planes which are set to cost the US government a pretty penny.
In a tweet, Trump lamented, “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 government currently has a contract with Boeing to build two or possibly more new planes, which would go into service at some point in 2024. Were Trump to lose the 2020 election, he would not even have the chance to fly in the new planes.
In the aftermath of the president’s tweet, Boeing shares plummeted by more than 1 per cent, although the aviation giant was able to make up for some of the losses during afternoon trading sessions.
As the president, it would be within Trump’s power to terminate the contract with Boeing if he chose to do so. A government auditor has estimated that the final cost of the aircraft will be around $3.2 billion (€2.99 billion), but the planes are still in their preliminary design stages and the final costs could potentially be much higher. However, the White House has gone on record saying that it was unclear where Trump got his cited figure of $4 billion (€3.72 billion).
As Trump is a business magnate and billionaire, he already has his own private plane. As the US president he would be expected to travel on Air Force One, which is equipped with cutting-edge safety, defence, and communications features. The presidential plane has been described as “a flying oval office” and is even capable of in-flight refuelling. It also contains an operating room, a presidential suite, and designated areas for advisers, Secret Service officers, and members of the press.
In the past, Trump has expressed a great deal of fondness for his own personal Boeing 757. Last year in an interview with Rolling Stone he stated that the presidential plane paled in comparison to his own aircraft, describing Air Force One as “a step down from this in every way.” He pointed out that his personal plane previously appeared on Discovery Channel where it was described as the most luxurious jetliner in the world.
Speaking with reporters on Tuesday December 6, Trump expressed his scepticism about the upcoming contract with Boeing, calling the costs “ridiculous.”
“We want Boeing to make a lot of money, but not that much money,” he said.