FILE PHOTO: Air Force One sits on the tarmac at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland U.S. December 6, 2016. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
By Mike Stone and David Shepardson
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Biden administration will modify, but continue with, an Air Force One paint scheme that closely resembles the current white with two shades of blue, which dates back to President John F. Kennedy’s administration, the Air Force said on Friday.
A red, white and blue paint scheme for the presidential aircraft, known as Air Force One when the president is on board, was proposed by Donald Trump when he was president, but was scuttled after a study showed it would create too much heat.
The current “robin’s egg” blue will be slightly “deeper”, the engines will be a darker blue and the belly will not be polished metal because the jet’s alloy does not allow that, the Air Force said.
The contractual decision for a Air Force One paint job “was not required until this year,” the Air Force said.
The Boeing (NYSE:BA) Co 747-8s are designed to be an airborne White House able to fly in worst-case security scenarios, such as nuclear war, and are modified with military avionics, advanced communications and a self-defense system.
Last summer, the Air Force said Boeing was set to deliver the next-generation Air Force One 747s in 2026 and 2027, the latest delay. The Air Force said Friday they are now projected to be delivered in 2027 and 2028.
Boeing has racked up $1.9 billion in losses on the $4.3 billion program that is now at least three years behind schedule.
Back in 2018, Boeing received a $3.9 billion contract to build two 747-8 aircraft for use as Air Force One, to be delivered by December 2024. Boeing is heavily modifying a pair of 747s for the project.