The Air Force is reportedly putting the final touches to a deal with Boeing to alter its original plans for purchasing two new 747s to replace the aging Air Force One and Two.
“We’re working through the final stages of coordination to purchase two commercial 747-8 aircraft and expect to award a contract soon,” Air Force spokeswoman Ann Stefanek said in a statement.
The Air Force is not expected to disclose the specific value of the contract, but officials said that the military is getting a good deal on the planes. Boeing lists the average sticker price of a 747-8 as $386.8 million; the actual amount paid by airlines and other customers varies with quantities, configurations, and so forth.
That’s a far cry from the $4 billion contract Boeing had when then President-elect Trump tweeted that the price tag for the new planes was too high and that the order should be canceled.
The planes were originally a part of a purchase order from the now bankrupt Russian airline, Transaero, which saw most of its fleet go to the airline Aeroflot, who declined to take receipt of the two finished planes Boeing had completed. So, Boeing flight-tested the planes and then sent them down to a storage facility in the Mojave Desert.
This result is clearly desirable to anyone who wishes the government would spend less money, or at least be more judicious with how they spend it. But does the ends justify the means here? Trump tweeting what he did about the Boeing order sent waves through the Pentagon and the media over the idea that the new president would be dictating policy and negotiating contracts via social media.
There are ways for the president to get the results he wants without threatening a business online. This new deal being negotiated likely is a result of those traditional avenues being used. Good on Trump and the Air Force, and Boeing, for negotiating a better deal. Now if only the president could affect a better presidential mien.