Boeing’s delivery of two new Air Force One planes has been delayed again, the Air Force announced Tuesday, with the completion of the first of the new presidential planes not expected for at least another four years.
“The new objective delivery date to the Presidential Airlift Group for the first aircraft is September 2026 and the second aircraft is February 2027, a 24-month delay from the original contractual dates; and the new threshold dates are September 2027 for the first aircraft and February 2028 for the second, a 36-month delay,” the Air Force said in a statement.
Boeing struck the deal to make the two new planes in 2018 with then-President Donald Trump. At the time, Trump asked for the planes to be ready by 2021, but the project has faced a series of delays.
The military said in its statement Tuesday that the delayed delivery was due to a number of factors, including “impacts from the Covid-19 pandemic, interiors supplier transition, manpower limitations, wiring design timelines, and projected test execution rates.”
The Air Force also said that until the new planes are delivered, it “remains postured to keep” the current two presidential planes “available and mission-ready.”
After running into a host of issues while building the planes, the deal proved to be a regrettable one for the airline builder, with Boeing CEO David Calhoun saying earlier this year that the $3.9 billion contract that Boeing signed to build the planes was a mistake for the company, given the losses it is now incurring. He said the 2018 deal with the Air Force included “a very unique set of risks that Boeing probably shouldn’t have taken.”
The former President, with his deal-making persona, took an unusually hands-on approach to the Air Force One deal. He personally met with Boeing big-wigs at the White House to seal the deal. He also shared drawings for a new red, white and blue color scheme for the jets.
The Biden administration, however, said last month that Trump’s proposed paint scheme was no longer under consideration due to cost and engineering concerns.
CNN’s Gregory Wallace contributed to this report.