Here Are the Jets That May Become Air Force One

By Caroline Houck and Marcus Weisgerber

August 2, 2017

Under pressure from President Donald Trump to cut the cost of the next Air Force Ones, the U.S. Air Force is finalizing a deal with Boeing to purchase two undelivered 747s in storage in the Mojave desert.

As Defense One first reported yesterday:

The 747s that will be transformed for Presidential transport were originally ordered in 2013 by Transaero, which was Russia’s second-largest airline until it went bankrupt in 2015. Boeing built two of the four jets in the order, but the airline never took ownership of them.

Typically, an airline makes a 1 percent down payment when it orders a plane, then pays the balance in installments. Transaero did not fulfill its scheduled payments, according to an industry source.

Aeroflot absorbed most of Transaero’s existing fleet, but declined to pick up Transaero’s 747-8I orders worth $1.5 billion at list prices,” FlightGlobal reported last month.

This is one of the jets, numbered N894BA, spotted last year:

Courtesy Woodys Aeroimages

A photographer for Woodys Aeroimages spotted the pair of jets in December 2015, when Boeing temporarily put them into storage at the airfield attached to its Everett factory outside Seattle.

If the Air Force takes ownership of the planes, contractors will have to give them a state-of-the-art communications system, defensive countermeasures, and hardening to withstand an electromagnetic pulse caused by a nuclear explosion. But the service is reportedly getting a good deal on the jets themselves, which have been waiting untouched in the Mojave desert as Boeing sought another buyer.

Read the rest of the original report here.

By Caroline Houck and Marcus Weisgerber // Caroline Houck is a staff correspondent at Defense One. She previously was an Atlantic Media fellow. // Marcus Weisgerber is the global business editor for Defense One, where he writes about the intersection of business and national security. He has been covering defense and national security issues for more than a decade, previously as Pentagon correspondent for Defense News and chief editor of Inside the Air Force. He has reported from Afghanistan, the Middle East, Europe, and Asia, and often travels with the defense secretary and other senior military officials.

August 2, 2017