“President Trump has reached an informal deal with Boeing on a fixed price contract for the new Air Force One Program. Thanks to the President’s negotiations, the contract will save the taxpayers more than $1.4 Billion,” deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley said in a statement. Tuesday.
The White House says the original estimates for the project were over $5 billion. Those figures, however, do not seem to square with previous comments by the president when he said that $4 billion was too much to pay and threatened to cancel a planned project for two new presidential planes.
A White House official maintained Tuesday that the real savings to taxpayers in the end is $1.4 billion because the $4 billion estimate had since increased to be a little over $5 billion.
"The current Air Force One fleet faces capability gaps, rising maintenance costs, and parts obsolescence as it has reached the end of its planned 30-year life cycle," a White House official said.
Boeing, in a statement, praised the agreement, saying "President Trump negotiated a good deal on behalf of the American people."
A spokesperson pushed back on the notion that the company was ever out to profit off taxpayer dollars in negotiations for the plan.
“Boeing has never seen the Air Force One program as a profit driver," the spokesperson said. "We have provided a substantial deal to the government for these two aircraft and we’re proud to do so.”
According to a Boeing official, the $3.9 billion price tag includes work to develop and build the two presidential aircraft, including things unique to Air Force One such as a communications suite, internal and external stairs, large galleys and other equipment, and structural changes designed to protect and sustain the president and those on board for an extended period of time.
A Boeing official also told ABC News the president wants the planes ready by 2021. Should he win reelection, this would be the start of his second term in office.