The White House has urgently asked for new presidential jumbo jets to replace two Air Force One Boeing 747-200 aircraft that will reach their 30-year life expectancy next year and are becoming harder to keep flying, according to the Air Force.
“The real challenge and the challenge that is forcing us to buy newer aircraft for the president is to overcome the fact that there are heroics going on every day to keep the current aircraft flying and it’s becoming way too expensive and way too difficult to do that,” said Kevin W. Buckley, program executive officer of mobility programs headquartered at the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center at Wright-Patterson.
“Even with the current replacement program, the existing aircraft will get to be around 35 years old, which is up there in jetliner years,” Richard Aboulafia, a senior aviation analysis at the Teal Group in Virginia, said in an email.
While the Air Force has kept bombers and aerial tankers flying decades-longer than ever expected — many more than half a century old — that’s not an option with the presidential fleet, Buckley said.
“We grit our teeth and bear it in the U.S. Air Force,” he said. “We can’t do that with the presidential air (fleet). They need 100 percent reliability.” (Read More)