President Donald Trump’s administration may be poised to strike a peculiar deal for the next Air Force One planes: buying jumbo jets abandoned by a defunct Russian airline.
The U.S. Air Force is in talks to purchase two 747-8 jetliners from Boeing Co. that were originally bound for Transaero Airlines, once Russia’s second-largest airline, said a person briefed on the talks. The carrier never signed for the humpbacked passenger jets before it dissolved in late 2015, and the aircraft have been in storage since rolling out of Boeing’s factory near Seattle earlier that year.
While the Pentagon has also explored fresh-out-of-the-factory models that wouldn’t be available until the end of the decade, it has an incentive to move quickly. Boeing is offering favorable pricing if a contract is awarded by this month, according to a government funding request. As president-elect, Trump railed against the cost of new Air Force One jets.
“We are still working with the Air Force on a deal for two 747s,” said Caroline Hutcheson, a spokeswoman for Boeing, who declined to say whether talks were centered on the Transaero planes. “We are focused on the best deal and price for the Air Force.”