President Donald Trump has big plans for the next iteration of Air Force One.
Trump recently told CBS News that two new presidential jets will replace the current model, customized Boeing 747s that made their debuts in 1990, and be filled with state-of-the-art technology. But the modifications won’t be confined to the inside, and the president, known for his penchant for redecoration, said he has a grand vision to update the 30-year-old paint job.
“Boeing gave us a good deal,” Trump told CBS’ Jeff Glor in an interview that aired Tuesday. “But I said, ‘I wonder if we should use the same baby blue colors?’ And we’re not. You know what colors we’re using? Red, white and blue.”
He continued: “Air Force One is going to be incredible. It’s going to be the top of the line, the top in the world. And it’s going to be red, white and blue, which I think is appropriate.”
Officials said Tuesday that Boeing had officially won the $3.9 billion contract to build the two new 747-8s, several months after the company reached an informal deal over the aircraft. They’re expected to be delivered by December 2024, what would be the last full year of Trump’s presidency should he win a second term, Reuters reports.
Bloomberg notes that much of the cost comes from complex modifications that turn Air Force One ― the technical name for any plane the president is traveling on ― into a mobile White House. The aircraft will have self-defense capabilities, communication systems, and work and rest quarters.
Trump told CBS he was able to save $1.5 billion on the deal, although those savings couldn’t be confirmed. He lambasted initial plans for the update shortly after his election, tweeting in 2016 that costs were “out of control” and threatening to cancel the order. Boeing was able to negotiate with the White House to cut costs, saying the president made “a good deal on behalf of the American people,” and Trump signaled his approval in February.
In Tuesday’s interview, the president stressed that the new planes will “be largely for future presidents,” citing the “very complex project.” But he said the update was long overdue.
“You know Air Force One is 30 years old,” Trump said. “And it shouldn’t be.”