Russian leftovers may become Air Force One

Air Force One
First lady Melania Trump and President Donald Trump wave from the top of the stairway leading to Air Force One during a trip to Brussels in May. (White House Photo)

Two Boeing 747-8 jets that were given up before delivery by Russia’s bankrupt Transaero Airlines could well end up as the next presidential Air Force One aircraft.

The arrangement, first reported by Defense One, is one of the options being discussed as a response to President Donald Trump’s demand to reduce the multibillion-dollar cost of replacing today’s aging Air Force One planes. The Air Force is negotiating with Boeing over the terms and requirements for the switchover from the two nearly 30-year-old 747-200s that are currently being used.

“We’re still working closely with the Air Force toward a deal, with our focus being to provide the best value and price to the Air Force,” Boeing spokeswoman Caroline Hutcheson told GeekWire in an email.

Transaero ordered the 747-8s in 2013. Two years later, it declared bankruptcy. Russia’s flagship Aeroflot airlines picked up most of Transaero’s planes but declined to take delivery of the 747-8s. Last year, the planes were parked for long-term storage in Victorville, Calif., where the dry climate of California’s Mojave Desert preserves mothballed jets from corrosion.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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