"The presidential aircraft is one of the most visible symbols of the United States of America and the office of the president of the United States," Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James said in the statement. "The Boeing 747-8 is the only aircraft manufactured in the United States when fully missionized meets the necessary capabilities established to execute the presidential support mission, while reflecting the office of the president of the United States of America consistent with the national public interest."
These planes have a 30-year life span and the current set of Boeing 747-200's will reach the end of their life in 2017, according to BloombergBusiness. The first new Air Force One is expected to be delivered in 2018 and would be tested for five years before entering service in 2023, according to Bloomberg.
The main differences between Air Force One and a regular 747 are state-of-the-art navigation, electronic and communications equipment, as well as the interior, which includes offices, a conference/dining room and living space for the president and first lady, according to Boeing's website.
The government and Boeing still need to iron out the details of the contract, officials said.