- The White House and Boeing have agreed to an informal deal for two Boeing 747-8I airliners.
- The $3.9 billion dollar deal will see the two aircraft converted to the nation's new presidential transports.
- The planes will take on the call sign Air Force One when the President of the United States is on board.
Boeing and the White House have agreed to a $3.9 billion deal for two 747-8 Intercontinental commercial airliners that will be converted over to serve as the nation's next generation presidential transports.
The White House confirmed on Tuesday that US President Donald Trump agreed to the informal deal with Boeing.
The two brand-new jumbo jets were abandoned after Russia's Transaero airline bust in 2015. At the time, Boeing had already built two of the four 747s Transaero had on order. So instead of delivering the planes, Boeing completed flight testing and sent them to the California desert where they have been waiting for a new buyer. Now the planes are now destined to take on the call sign, Air Force One.
Air Force One is instantly recognizable — both as the airplane of the President of the United States and as a flying symbol of American military and economic might. With its hand-polished blue, white, and silver livery, it boldly proclaims the arrival of the powerful man in the world.
What many people don't know is that there isn't one, but two nearly identical Boeing jets that serve as the official transport of the president. Normally, the planes are referred to by their tail numbers — 28000 and 29000 — but when the Commander and Chief steps on board, they take on the call sign "Air Force One." In fact, presidential airplanes didn't begin using the Air Force One designation until 1959.
The president's pair of Boeing VC-25A jets is operated by the Presidential Airlift Group out of Joint Base Andrews in Maryland. While the current Boeing 747-based planes have been in service for more than two decades, they're simply the latest in a long line of flying White Houses.
Here's a look back at the history America's presidential airplanes.
Today, presidential air travel is a massive, highly coordinated operation. However, this wasn't always the case.
It all started with Theodore Roosevelt — a true American pioneer. The 26th president was the first to fly in an airplane. More than a year after leaving office, he flew in a Wright Flyer on October 10, 1910.
It wasn't until 1933 that the government actually acquired an aircraft specifically for presidential travel. That year, a Douglas Dolphin amphibious plane — similar to the one pictured below — was specially outfitted for President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Unfortunately, FDR never flew in the Dolphin.