Trump and Boeing CEO Look to Downscale Requirements on Air Force One Replacement

WASHINGTON — Boeing will reduce the cost of the Air Force One replacement program by adhering to scaled-down requirements and using commercial practices, Boeing head Dennis Muilenburg said after a Tuesday meeting with President-elect Donald Trump.

The discussion, which ended around noon at Trump Tower in New York, was the second session between the two businessmen.

Muilenburg told the press that he and Trump made “some great progress on simplifying the requirements for Air Force One” and that costs could be further lowered by using commercial practices to streamline the aircraft certification process, according to a pool report.

“I think we’re making great progress. … Together we are working through streamlining the practices, simplifying the requirements, applying commercial best practices. That’s going to lead to substantial cost reduction,” Muilenburg said.

Boeing’s fighter programs also came up during the discussion, he said. Although Muilenburg did not elaborate, that likely refers to the Super Hornet, which Trump is eyeing as potential competition for the F-35. The president-elect has not discussed whether he plans to truncate the Lockheed F-35 joint strike fighter program, but in December he expressed interest in an upgraded version of the Super Hornet.

Trump first set his sights on the Air Force One program on Dec. 6, when he fired off a tweet stating that the $4 billion program was “out of control” and should be canceled. Later that month, he met with Muilenburg at the president-elect’s Mar-A-Lago estate in Florida, and the Boeing CEO promised that work on the program would not exceed $4 billion.

“We’re going to get it done for less than that, and we’re committed to working together to make sure that happens. And I was able to give the president-elect my personal commitment on behalf of The Boeing Company,” Muilenburg said then. “This is a business that’s important to us. We work on Air Force One because it’s important to our country and we’re going to make sure that he gets the best capability and that it’s done affordably.

“That’s what we’re going to work on together. We have an active 747 production…

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