The president’s new plane touched down on Mexican soil yesterday morning, but it will be nearly a year before it goes into service.
The Boeing 787 Dreamliner, which will cost 6.3 billion pesos, or US $470 million, over 15 years, was ordered during the administration of Felipe Calderon but won’t be completely ready until some sophisticated security and communications systems are installed between now and next September.
That cost doesn’t include annual maintenance, which will add another 1.2 billion pesos to the total. The government opted to pay for the jet over a longer period, increasing the overall cost.
According to one media report, the plane will have capacity for 250 passengers and will feature rooms with appointments equivalent to five-star hotels. The president will have his own suite, plus office, and there will be room for staff, guests and journalists.
The plane can travel nearly 16,000 kilometers without refuelling, which is somewhat farther than U.S. President Barack Obama can go on Air Force One. It is the first Dreamliner Boeing has sold to a non-commercial customer.
The purchase has had its critics. One citizens’ group calculated that its cost could support a family for 450,000 years.
President Peña Nieto currently flies in a 66-passenger Boeing 757, built in 1987.