President Trump on Thursday praised Air Force One, calling it “beautiful” and a “great plane” in his office aboard the aircraft.
“That’s a good one too, but this is a very special plane for a lot of reasons,” he told reporters when asked how Air Force One compares with his personal jet.
Trump sat in his on-board office with a navy blue Air Force One jacket slung over his desk chair, pool reports said, before telling assembled journalists he had met the vehicle’s pilot.
The then-president-elect harshly criticized Boeing last month over the cost of a new Air Force One plane, calling for the company’s contract to get canceled.
“Boeing is building a brand new 747 Air Force One for future presidents but costs are out of control, more than $4 billion,” he tweeted on Dec. 6, 2016. “Cancel order!”
Trump clarified his stance later that morning, accusing Boeing of “doing a little bit of number” with the aircraft’s “ridiculous” price tag.
“We want Boeing to make a lot of money but not that much money,” he quipped in Trump Tower in New York City.
Boeing initially won a contract to replace the current Air Force One Jets – which have been flying since the early 1990s – from the Pentagon in January 2016.
The Hill reports,
The defense contractor’s initial contract was worth $25.8 billion, but the Air Force planned on spending as much as $1.65 billion on two new planes.
A Government Accountability Office report from March 2016, meanwhile, estimated the cost of the vehicles at roughly $3.2 billion before their scheduled completion in 2023.
Boeing’s CEO said last Tuesday his company has made in-roads with Trump on shrinking the cost of the next generation of Air Force One planes.
“We made some great progress on simplifying requirements for Air Force One, streamlining the process, streamlining certification by using commercial practices,” Dennis Muilenberg told reporters after meeting with Trump Jan. 17. “All of that is going to provide a better airplane at a lower cost, so I’m pleased with the progress there.”
Read more at The Hill