New York [United States], Dec. 7 : U.S. President-Elect Donald Trump wants to cancel an order of Air Force One from Boeing which is being built to carry "future presidents" as it is costing more than (Dollar) 4 billion.
"Boeing is building a brand new 747 Air Force One for future presidents, but costs are out of control, more than USD4 billion.
Cancel order!," the President-Elect said in a tweet. "Well the plane is totally out of control. It's going to be over (Dollar) 4 billion for the Air Force One program," he said. And I think it's 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," CNN quoted Trump, responding to reporters on the tweet.
According to a Boeing source familiar with the program, it is hard to estimate the cost without knowing all the security features, and even the company cannot estimate the cost of the program at this time, as the government has not informed them about the features it wants in the new Air Force One.
The source said that they are even not sure about the number of planes government wants. Obama's White House spokesman Josh Earnest said, "The statistics that have been cited [by Trump], shall we say, don't appear to reflect the nature of the financial arrangement between Boeing and the Department of Defense." Boeing said in an official statement that its current contract allows it "to help determine the capabilities of these complex military aircraft that serve the unique requirements of the President of the United States." A Boeing official said that they were surprised by Trump's comments and the company got in touch with his team soon after his tweet.
The Air Force till now has a budget of USD (Dollar) 2.9 billion through 2021 for two new Air Force Ones and will be replacing the aging pair of blue, white and polished aluminum 747-200Bs which is currently serving the President.
The new planes aren't expected to be ready to fly until 2022. Defense Department budget documents say that about USD 93 million have already been spent by the Air Force on preparing to build the new jets.
The amount has been included in Boeing's current contract. However, the manufacturing is still to begin. "We look forward to working with the U.S. Air Force on subsequent phases of the program allowing us to deliver the best planes for the President at the best value for the American taxpayer," said Boeing's statement.
Trump's spokesman Jason Miller said that President-Elect's remarks highlights that he's is looking for ways to cut government costs where he can.
"The point that the President-elect was making here was that a (Dollar) 4 billion price tag is a very big number, the taxpayers want to make sure we're seeing absolute accountability and that the government is doing the best to drive costs down," he said.
However, Earnest informed reporters on Tuesday that the planes need to be upgraded. Trump has criticised Boeing, which is country's largest exporter over its deal to sell commercial jets to Iran and its decision to open a factory in China.