Boeing Says Delivery of New Air Force One Jets Delayed

Boeing Says Delivery of New Air Force One Jets Delayed (U.S. House Armed Services Committee/YouTube)

By Charlie McCarthy | Wednesday, 09 June 2021 01:25 PM

The new Air Force One jets being built by Boeing are expected to arrive a year late and cost taxpayers more than expected, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Acting Assistant Air Force Secretary told a House panel Tuesday that Boeing had proposed delivering two new presidential jets by the end of 2025, a year later than planned.

"Boeing has informed us that they believe it will be a 12-month [delay] beyond their original schedule," Costello told a House Armed Services seapower and projection forces subcommittee, The Hill reported. "That doesn't mean that we agree with that yet.

"I wouldn't expect that [delay] to be more than what Boeing is saying."

Under former President Donald Trump in 2018, Boeing struck a $3.9 billion deal to replace the aging 747s, which are known as Air Force One when the commander-in-chief is aboard.

The delay would be a first for the Air Force One replacement program since that deal.

WSJ, citing people familiar with the matter, reported that Boeing was expected to seek more than $500 million in additional government funding for the two modified 747s because of an increase in costs related to the coronavirus pandemic and a supplier's bankruptcy.

In this year's first quarter, Boeing booked a $318 million charge, after taking a $168 million charge last year.

Although an Air Force spokesman said Boeing had not formally requested additional funding, Costello told the subcommittee the company has said it intended to submit such a request.

"This is a disappointment to all of us," said Rep. Joe Courtney, D-Conn., chairman of the subcommittee.

A Boeing spokesman said the company was making steady progress on the project.

Fort Worth, Texas-based GDC Technics – among a handful of companies that specialize in outfitting interiors of executive aircraft for VIPs and heads of state – was hired to outfit the interiors of the planes, officially known as VC-25Bs.

Boeing sued GDC in April, claiming the contractor missed deadlines on the project. The supplier, which filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, answered in court with documents that the delays were Boeing's fault.

Boeing has suffered setbacks in its commercial, space, and other defense work in recent years. In May, the company stopped deliveries of its 787 Dreamliner so it could respond to questions from U.S. air-safety regulators.

Costello said Pentagon officials planned to update the delivery schedule for the new Air Force One jets by September after weighing Boeing's proposal regarding the program.

The two planes currently used as Air Force One were delivered when former President George H.W. Bush was in office.

In June 2019, Trump shared images of a prospective redesign for Air Force One, saying he designed the plane himself.

"We had different choices," Trump told ABC News' George Stephanopoulos, showing three mock-ups for the jet's next generation. "These are slightly different."