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After having canceled a multi-billion dollar airport construction project in November, Mexico’s new president, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, is making more aviation cuts. This time, the reductions concern the official presidential jet.
Fulfilling a campaign promise, Obrador is selling off the presidential Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner that his predecessors ordered in 2012 and took delivery of in 2016. The luxurious widebody is worth about $218 million, according to Reuters. Obrador, who ran on a platform of ending purported government corruption, has criticized it as an ostentatious symbol of government excess. It’s newer than the US presidential jet, a modified Boeing 747 dubbed Air Force One when the US president is on board.
Obrador opened up the plane’s sumptuous interior to media tours over the weekend.
Touring Mexico’s version of Air Force One, to be sold off in a process that starts tomorrow https://t.co/EQwBIFk9lj
— Eric Martin (@EMPosts) December 2, 2018
On Monday, the 2-year-old jumbo jet flew to a Boeing facility in California, Bloomberg reports, where it can be maintained by the plane manufacturer until a buyer is locked down. The 787’s sale is part of a larger push by Obrador to sell off government-owned planes and helicopters he deems unnecessary.
“We are selling all the planes and helicopters that the corrupt politicians used,” he told a cheering crowd at a rally earlier this year. In addition to the presidential 787, the new administration is aiming to sell 60 government planes and 70 government helicopters, the nation’s finance minister Carlos Urzua said in a press conference.
At the tail end of October, Obrador pulled the plug on a $13 billion plan for a new airport that was underway in the outskirts of Mexico City. In a nationwide referendum, 70% of voters rejected the plan. The project was already more than a third completed, with $5 billon already sunk into the construction. During his campaign, Obrador accused the project of being rife with corruption because many of the construction contracts went to companies under the umbrella of a single Mexican billionaire, Carlos Slim.
Featured image by ALEJANDRO MELENDEZ/AFP/Getty Images.
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