Air Force One’s Tryst With Trump

In the sudden move to cancel the Air Force One order, an awareness of the plane’s actual cost has emerged.

Ironical as it is, Trump is no stranger to luxuries, with him owning luxury planes for his business trips. In a surprise move, Trump requested to cancel the latest Air Force One order. He thinks that it is too expensive to waste tax payers’ money. Does he want to prove his solidarity toward American citizens? Trump’s intent may be a prone to judgement, but the fact remains that the aircraft is indeed costly.

Air Force One is the most visible emblem of power, a symbol of the powerful. It remains an instrument to showcase superiority by all means, in the machine and in the commander-in-chief who the plane serves. For the order, there are two identical planes built, so when one is under maintenance the other can do the job. This doubles the cost by default. The plane comes with a moving office, a conference room, gym, and three levels of usable space spread across 4000 square feet. It is a military order with unthought-of technology, almost resembling a moving White House. It is studded with military equipment, self-defence systems, communication mediums, and a mobile command centre when attacked by enemies. The plane has a permanent doctor on board, dining room, private offices for staff members, and the president’s private office. It is hardened to resist a nuclear attack, and can withstand an exploding atomic bomb and its electromagnetic pulse. Boeing is assumed to bill USD 4 billion for the two planes, and it costs USD 206,337 per hour of operation when flying.

Trump is irritated at these exorbitant costs that led him to tweet about cancellation. Whether Trump is performing his duty as a President when he proposes to minimise his office costs, and make the country’s treasury swell, is a question that probes intrigue and jest at the same time. His plans sound counter-intuitive at the most. His predecessor hardly imposed cuts on his travel plans; in fact, the costly machine was used for over a dozen trips campaigning for Hillary.

There are two sides to the story – The White House and Trump. Can Boeing, knowing its invincibility, overcharge the White House? Certainly, they exist to make profits; not charity. Nonetheless, inflating a bill is even simpler in this case, under the disguise of providing layers of safety and inflating the importance of security for the president. And the White House is a notorious spender, more so after America’s date with terrorism. The aircraft is an expensive but necessary machine. It has been developed in line with standard practices and protocol.

Being concerned about bulging costs is not like Trump, for starters. Secondly, his focus on remote matters such as this has only made him unpopular in the elite circles. On the contrary, thirdly, if his victory is any indication about how he plans to encroach populism, this may be one of the many right ways. Trump’s order cancelation could also be a negotiating move to dislodge Boeing from its ignorance of being the only one, as he is a master negotiator. Whatever the costs and Trump’s intent, negotiations are forthcoming and unavoidable.

The present model was processed in the 1990s and is assumed to have reached its end-period, and this makes the new order timely.  A new carrier must be ordered, yes. However, as Trump suggests, the carrier does not have to be extravagant; Trump’s focus is on “minimal comfort”.

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