Boeing CEO bemoans Air Force One overruns
David Calhoun says the fixed-price deal his company agreed to with former President Trump probably should not have been done
Boeing CEO David Calhoun signaled Wednesday that he is not a fan of the deal the company made under former President Trump to produce the new Air Force One planes, bemoaning the fixed price now that inputs costs have soared.
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The agreement signed with the White House in 2018 was made under different leadership at Boeing, and Calhoun, who was on the board at the time, was asked about it during the company's earnings call after posting a $1.2 billion first quarter loss – including a $660 million write-down for the Air Force One fleet.
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"I will have a very different philosophy with respect to fixed price development," Calhoun said. "So I don't expect, and I hope never to contribute to that issue."
"Air Force One I’m just going to call a very unique moment, a very unique negotiation, a very unique set of risks that Boeing probably should not have taken," Calhoun explained, "but we are where we are, and we’re going to deliver great airplanes."
The $3.9 billion deal to convert two Boeing 747 jets into flying presidential offices was negotiated by former CEO Dennis Muilenburg, and the Trump administration boasted at the time that the agreement would save taxpayers upwards of $1.4 billion.
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Muilenberg was fired the next year amid fallout from two deadly crashes of Boeing 737 Max jets.
Meanwhile, deliver of the planes, originally slated for December 24, has faced a series of delays due in part to COVID-19 and supply chain issues.
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According to a report from Breaking Defense last month, Boeing now expects to deliver the planes up to 17 months late.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.