On Friday, the US Air Force unveiled a new color scheme for the new Air Force One jets that are currently under construction. Instead of the darker red, white, and blue that former President Donald Trump had chosen, the US Air Force went with a more contemporary take on the aircraft’s traditional design.
The design that Trump wanted for Air Force One, which featured a dark blue underbelly and a deep red stripe in the middle, was also dropped from the color scheme. It was confirmed that Trump’s preferred color scheme had been rejected the previous year due to the fact that it would require additional engineering, which would increase the aircraft’s cost and construction time, which had already experienced numerous delays. According to the Air Force, the dark blue paint would have necessitated additional qualification testing from the Federal Aviation Administration and the risk of overheating sophisticated electronic components on board.
Rather, the colors of the “Next Air Force One,” as it is known, will largely match those of the aircraft it will replace, with one minor exception. The renderings that CNN received first reveal that the aircraft’s nose and engines will be a darker shade of blue than the current robin’s egg blue. The overall design is consistent with the style that Air Force One has worn since President John F. Kennedy took office 60 years ago.
The Air Force claims that President Joe Biden had to choose the new livery so that Boeing could prepare the VC-25B aircraft—a modified 747-8i—for engineering, certification, and other tasks. Boeing is also modifying and testing the fleet of two aircraft that are currently in construction, so these actions will take place simultaneously.
The first VC-25B is expected to be delivered in 2027, and the second one will arrive in 2028. According to the Air Force, neither the newly chosen paint scheme nor its implementation will increase the program’s cost.
Boeing figured out the agreement to make the two new planes in 2018 with then-President Trump. Trump asked for the planes to be ready by 2021 at the time, but the project has been delayed several times.
When Trump announced the deal in 2018, he made a big deal of his decision to go with a patriotic color scheme.
Trump once told CBS, “Air Force One is going to be incredible.” It will be the best in the world and the top of the line. Additionally, I believe the colors red, white, and blue are appropriate.
The Covid-19 pandemic, a lack of workers, and design timelines were all factors that contributed to the project’s delays.
Boeing CEO David Calhoun stated last year that the $3.9 billion contract that Boeing signed to build the planes was a mistake for the company, given the losses it incurred. The deal proved to be a regrettable one for the airline builder after running into a number of issues while building the planes. He stated that Boeing “probably shouldn’t have taken” “a very unique set of risks” in the 2018 agreement with the Air Force. In contrast to his negotiating persona, the former president was unusually involved in the Air Force One deal. To close the deal, he personally met with Boeing executives at the White House.