Trump and Manufacturing
Air Force One in 2004 Andreas Rentz, Getty Images

Trump: "Cancel" Boeing's Air Force One Order

The Pentagon is looking to replace its ageing fleet of Boeing 747-200 aircraft, which will hit its 30-year service life next year, with the next Air Force One 747-8s estimated to lift off in 2023.

President-elect Donald Trump said the latest Air Force One order should be canceled, citing the high costs of converting the Boeing Co. jumbo jet for presidential use.

“Boeing is building a brand new 747 Air Force One for future presidents, but costs are out of control, more than $4 billion,” Trump said Tuesday on Twitter. “Cancel order!”

The Pentagon is looking to replace its aging fleet of Boeing 747-200 aircraft, which will reach the planned 30-year service life in 2017. Officials have said the next Air Force One 747-8 jets are estimated to begin operations in fiscal 2023. The Air Force expects the planes to have the range to fly between continents and comparable interiors to the current 747, whose features include work and sleeping quarters for the president and first family.

“The plane is totally out of control,” Trump said in a brief appearance in the lobby of Trump Tower on Tuesday. “I think Boeing is doing a little bit of a number. We want Boeing to make a lot of money, but not that much money.”

Trump didn’t specify where the $4 billion figure came from. The Air Force has budgeted about $1.6 billion through 2019. Boeing fell 0.9% to $150.85 at 9:53 a.m. in New York. A representative of the Chicago-based planemaker wasn’t immediately available for comment.

Boeing is the latest major U.S. company to be called out by Trump after the president-elect negotiated a deal with United Technologies Corp. to keep more than 1,000 jobs in the U.S. Trump, who turned U.S. employment and corporate tax reform into defining issues during the campaign, has drawn both praise and criticism for directly intervening in companies’ affairs.

Tuesday’s tweet wasn’t the first time Trump has mentioned Boeing. At a February rally in South Carolina, then-candidate Trump said the company “is building massive plants in China,” which he said would be problematic if the Asian nation cut the value of its currency.

On Sunday, discussing the deal to keep jobs in the U.S., Vice President-elect Mike Pence said on ABC’s “This Week” that Trump would decide whether to intervene with specific companies “on a day-by-day basis.”

In a speech Dec. 2, Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg called on Trump and Congress to ensure that U.S. companies have the tools necessary to compete in a global economy.

For Boeing, the largest U.S. exporter, that means a reformed tax code, a fair global trade system, regulatory changes that make it easier to close foreign defense sales and re-opening the U.S. Export-Import Bank for business, Muilenburg said in remarks to the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association.

By Richard Clough and Tony Capaccio, with assistance from Jennifer Epstein.

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