Sunday, May 26, 2024

Presidential Dreamliner is costly even while sitting in a hangar

Although President López Obrador has declined to use the presidential plane bought by his predecessors, maintenance of the unused aircraft costs nearly as much as flying it.

The Boeing 787 Dreamliner — ex-president Felipe Calderón ordered it and his successor, Enrique Peña Nieto, took delivery — is currently housed in a hangar at the Southern California Logistics Airport in the United States while the government looks for a buyer.

According to the newspaper Reforma, the annual cost of using the plane during Enrique Peña Nieto’s presidency was 17 million pesos (US $900,000).

The National Defense Secretariat (Sedena) told Reforma that in the nine months that the plane has been grounded in California, the Mexican government has spent US $597,982, nearly 12 million pesos, to maintain it.

That cost breaks down to 1.32 million pesos per month, meaning that the annual cost of the plane’s upkeep would total almost 16 million.

Just cleaning the plane costs $5,000, and occasionally it must be taken out of the hangar, which costs about $67,000.

López Obrador announced during his election campaign that he would sell the plane and take commercial flights instead.

He has said that proceeds from its sale would go to projects such as municipal water improvements and finance programs for migrants.

In July of last year he assured the public that the plane’s sale was “in its final stage.”

“Six proposals have been presented and the United Nations, which is helping us in the sale process, is deciding on the best offer. I expect that we’ll know as soon as possible, I would even expect it to be resolved this week, according to what I’ve been told,” he said at the time.

But the aircraft remains unsold.

AMLO, as he is commonly known, told reporters Friday morning that the plane has not sold because its purchase itself “was a fraud.”

“The presidential plane was a fraud even at its purchase because it’s a plane that can only fly long distances, of [at least] five hours. It’s not for flying within Mexico,” he said.

Source: Sin Embargo (sp)

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