US President-Elect Donald Trump called into question the future of a deal with Boeing to supply updated Air Force One aircraft.
Taking to Twitter, Trump railed against the high cost of the custom aircraft used to transport the US President.
“Boeing is building a brand new 747 Air Force One for future presidents, but costs are out of control, more than $4bn. Cancel order!” Trump tweeted.
In the immediate aftermath of this statement, the stock price of Boeing dropped close to one percentage point, forcing the company to release a statement of its own which appeared to deny the claimed $4bn cost.
“”We are currently under contract for $170m to help determine the capabilities of these complex military aircraft that serve the unique requirements of the President of the United States,” Boeing said.
“We look forward to working with the US 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.”
Following this, Trump, in an interview with NBC stated that he had spoken with Boeing’s CEO and would “negotiate the prices”.
747 in name online
Much of the discussion regarding the price of the Air Force One contract stems from comparisons to the cost of a standard Boeing 747 jet.
These jets sell at around $378.5 million on the commercial market, however beyond its airframe, the Air Force One has very few similarities to the familiar passenger jet.
While many of the modifications are classified, it is understood that the Air Force One contains a completely reworked interior with as many as three floors.
In addition, it contains military grade electronic systems intended to survive an electromagnetic pulse from a high-altitude nuclear denotation, as well as electronic countermeasures designed to make the aircraft difficult to shoot down.
Moreover, the $4bn contract which Trump mentioned would likely not include one, but rather two similar aircraft – Air Force One, for the President and Air Force Two, for the Vice President.
Should this deal still go ahead, the planes will reportedly not be delivered until 2024, meaning it is unlikely Trump himself will ever fly in them.