Air Force None: Mexico’s next president wants to sell US$392 million Dreamliner jet

  • Leftist president-elect has promised to travel on commercial flights in push to rule with frugality and restraint Andres
  • Amlo’s other populist undertakings include slashing his own salary
PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 13 November, 2018, 11:37am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 13 November, 2018, 11:37am

In less than three weeks he will be sworn in as president of the world’s sixth largest democracy.

First, however, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has an aircraft to shift.

“It’s not just an efficient, modern plane – it’s a comfy plane, with a bedroom, a restaurant, with lots of space,” Mexico’s incoming leader said of the Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner for which he is seeking a buyer.

Selling Mexico’s presidential jet was part of a package of populist pledges that Lopez Obrador – or Amlo, as he is best known – made ahead of his landslide election victory in July.

In line with his promise to rule with frugality and restraint, the 64-year-old leftist has promised to travel on commercial flights rather than a luxury aircraft for which he said Mexico had paid up to 8 billion pesos (US$392 million) and cost 500 million pesos a year to maintain.

Last week, Amlo, who will be sworn in on December 1, issued a global call out to potential purchasers in “every corner of the world”.

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“I’d like to take advantage of this moment to send a message … to anyone who would like to buy the presidential plane,” he told reporters outside his Mexico City headquarters.

“If you want to buy it, I’ll deliver it personally. We’ll have a ceremony and you’ll be travelling in a very important plane. It’s not just about the price … it’s about the fame!”

Amlo’s other populist undertakings include opening the Los Pinos presidential palace to the public, slashing his own salary and those of other top government officials, getting rid of presidential bodyguards, and holding daily 7am press conferences where he will unveil details of what he calls his historic “transformation” of the country.

“We are going to begin this government with very profound changes,” he said.

Amlo said proceeds from the auction of the presidential Boeing – commissioned in 2012 by former president Felipe Calderon – would be used “to benefit our people” and claimed the winner would be walking away with a steal.

“It’s not just any old thing.”