The presidential plane is coming back to Mexico after failing to sell during the nine months it spent in a hangar in the United States.
The general director of state development bank Banobras, which purchased the Boeing 787 Dreamliner for US $218 million in 2012, told reporters at the presidential press conference that the plane will return to Mexico from the Southern California Logistics Airport in the coming days.
“We’re going to relaunch the effort [to sell it] and the Mexican government has decided that the plane will return to Mexican territory,” Jorge Mendoza Sánchez said, explaining that it will be put on display at an upcoming government auction.
Once in Mexico, the plane will be housed in the old presidential hangar at the Mexico City airport and maintained by the Secretariat of National Defense.
Since the plane was relocated to the United States, 42 potential buyers have been identified, 12 expressed interest in purchasing the plane and six made offers, two of which were above its estimated value, Mendoza said.
However, a sale never occurred and all the while maintenance and storage costs continued to add up.
Air Force Commander Manuel de Jesús Hernández said that keeping the plane in California had cost the government 28 million pesos (US $1.5 million).
For his part, President López Obrador revealed that he offered the plane to the United States government in exchange for payment in kind with ambulances and medical equipment. However, there was no response from U.S. authorities, he said.
The president said that once the plane is back in Mexico, the government will look at three different options to recover part of its initial cost: continue with the effort to sell it to a single buyer, try to sell it to a collective of up to 12 purchasers or rent it.
López Obrador said the government has already entered into talks with some business owners with a view to selling the plane before reaffirming his commitment to not use it himself (since taking office, the president has only taken commercial flights).
However, Mendoza said the government still owes Banobras 2.7 billion pesos (US $143.7 million) for the purchase of the plane, meaning that even if it sells for its estimated worth, the revenue will not cover the debt with the state development bank.