Coronavirus: Boeing’s new Air Force One cost spirals, despite Trump’s earlier warning
US plane maker Boeing will need to pay an extra $168 million to cover increasing costs of the Air Force One replacement program, the company said last week, according to US-based media firm Defense News.
Air Force One is the name given to the United States Air Force aircraft that is used by the President of the United States. US President Donald Trump criticized Boeing’s move to build a new 747 Air Force One in 2016, saying in a Tweet that “costs are out of control … Cancel order!”
Boeing attributed the cost overrun to the economic fallout of coronavirus causing “engineering inefficiencies.”
“We believe these inefficiencies will result in staffing challenges, schedule inefficiencies and higher costs in the upcoming phases of the program,” a report from Boeing said, according to, Defense News.
Chief Financial Officer Greg Smith noted, however, that the program remains on track to deliver its first VC-25B, the designation for the two new planes, in 2024.
“As we have folks working virtually – particularly on the engineering side – as well as that’s gone, we certainly experienced some inefficiencies that has caused us to re-evaluate our estimates to complete those efforts. And that’s essentially what you saw today in our results and the charge associated with that,” Defense News reported Smith saying.
The US Air Force later issued a statement attributing the additional cost to engineering challenges.
US Air Force head of acquisitions Will Roper said on April 16 that the program to replace Air Force One was continuing well, despite the pandemic, Air Force Magazine reported.
“Work continues down in Texas … and we’ve been able to benefit from COVID-19 on the defense side because a lot of the engineers and tools and talent that would be dedicated to other commercial functions within Boeing have now been available to help that program,” Roper said.
The total cost for the jets is projected at $5.2 billion, the magazine said, significantly higher than earlier projections had suggested.