In 2016 Mexico’s government took control of a Boeing 787, which flew around former President Enrique Pena Nieto. The purchase of the plane had actually been arranged under the previous president, Felipe Calderón, in 2012. The plane was to be paid for over 15 years. For what it’s worth, the 787 was replacing a 757 that was previously used for the president.
Well, Mexico’s new president, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, is today fulfilling a promise he made during his campaign, and is selling the government’s 787.
The plane will today be flown to California, where it will be maintained until they find a buyer for it.
What’s the reason for this? The current Mexican president thought the plane was too lavish and unnecessary, arguing that it’s even nicer than the current Air Force One in the US (which is an old 747-200). As he said, “you can not have a rich government with poor people.”
The plane reportedly cost around $220 million. Interestingly Mexico’s former president had argued that the price tag was much lower than the $580 million initially allocated to the project. He also noted that reselling the plane to an airline would require taking a loss of nearly $130 million, and that wasn’t worth it.
As part of his promise to cut costs, the new president is also planning on selling over 60 government planes and 70 government helicopters. Going forward, the president’s plan is to travel on commercial flights.
It will be interesting to see who ends up buying this business jet configured 787. Obviously there’s a very small market for that, and presumably even if they do find a buyer, they’ll do so at a great loss, due to how a 787 depreciates after a few years. I feel like someone who can afford to buy a private 787 also wants it customized exactly how they want it, and reconfiguring a plane like that isn’t cheap.
Ultimately it seems like this is more about fulfilling a campaign promise and about setting a good example than anything else, and I respect that.