Donald Trump

Trump says new Air Force One will be painted red, white and blue

‘I said, I wonder if we should use the same baby blue colours? And we’re not’

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 18 July, 2018, 2:22pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 18 July, 2018, 10:02pm

US President Donald Trump has ordered a bold, new paint job for Air Force One.

In an interview with CBS News, Trump said that two new replacements of the presidential jet due to be unveiled in several years will be painted red, white and blue, in a departure from the plane’s current light-blue colour scheme.

“I said, ‘I wonder if we should use the same baby blue colours?’ And we’re not. You know what colours we’re using? Take a guess,” Trump told CBS’ Jeff Glor. “Red, white and blue.”

Trump made the comments in an interview that was taped in Scotland last weekend and aired Tuesday.

He added that the remodelled plane is going to be “incredible” and “the top in the world” – but that he likely won’t get the chance to fly in it himself as president, or at least, not for long.

The new Air Force One “will be largely for future presidents, because by the time it gets built – I hate to say this – it’s going to be a long time; it’s a very complex project,” Trump said.

After months of negotiation, the White House announced in February that it had reached a deal with Boeing for two new aeroplanes at a total cost of US$3.9 billion.

The White House has previously claimed that Trump’s tough talk with Boeing on the cost of the planes had saved taxpayers more than US$1.4 billion. In the CBS interview, Trump expanded on that claim, saying that he “was able to save US$1.5 billion.”

But in 2016, Trump himself claimed that the initial price tag for the new planes was roughly US$4 billion, a figure that he decried as “ridiculous” at the time. The Air Force had also been working to bring down the cost years before Trump set his sights on Boeing.

The current Air Force One, a modified Boeing 747, made its debut in 1990. Technically speaking, any plane the president is travelling on becomes known as Air Force One for the duration of the commander in chief’s travel.

Trump told CBS that after nearly three decades, the plane was long overdue for an upgrade.

“Air Force One is 30 years old,” Trump said. “And it shouldn’t be.”

The new version is expected to be completed by December 2024, although Trump has pushed for that date to be pushed up to 2021 so that he can have a chance to ride it in his first term.