The presidential plane of Mexico is a money pit, it will be offered for rent – Edition du soir Ouest-France

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By Mathilde LE PETITCORPS

The Mexican president has been trying to sell his official plane since 2018. He has tried everything, even to organize a raffle, in vain. The luxurious Boeing weighs heavily on the government’s portfolio. Andrés Manuel López Obrador therefore decided to rent the device to reduce the financial gap.

(Map: West-France)

Can’t sell it, let’s rent it. In Mexico, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has been trying for four years to sell his official plane, which costs too much. But the device remains on his hands, so he decided to change strategy: the luxurious Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner will be offered for rental, for weddings, birthdays, business trips and other festivities. . The president made the announcement on Monday March 28, 2022, during a press conference, reports France 24.

An aircraft on sale for four years

This is a new twist in a story that began more than four years ago. Indeed, the man whom Mexicans and the international media nickname “AMLO” has been trying to get rid of this plane since the beginning of his mandate, in December 2018. He first put it up for sale just after his election to respect a promise of his campaign, during which he pledged to limit the operating expenses of the state and his government.

This luxurious aircraft, including a presidential suite with bedroom and bathroom, was purchased in 2008 for 218 million dollars by former President Felipe Calderón and used by his successor Enrique Pena Nieto for his travels. And the device is a money pit. Its operational costs are estimated at around 500,000 Mexican pesos, or €22,500 per flight hour, reports the business magazine Capital.

The interior of the Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner. (Photo: Henry Romero/Reuters)

Maintenance costs amount to more than 1.4 million euros per year, according to information from the FinancialTimes, a British daily specializing in financial news, at least in the United States, where it was stored for a while in a shed in California. The new Mexican president has made this Boeing a symbol, to denounce the excesses and corruption of his predecessors.

Read also: He refuses to take his Boeing 787: the Mexican president travels in economy class

A failed lottery

Nevertheless, for four years, despite the sale, no one has bought the presidential plane. The Mexican head of state, however, tried everything: in January 2021, he even organized a raffle, the jackpot of which was to be the plane.

On paper the idea seemed successful: It was expected that six million raffle tickets at a cost of 500 pesos, or about 24 €, would be put on sale. The Mexican state therefore expected some 144 million euros in profits.

But events took a completely different turn. “The plan to physically deliver the machine as a jackpot to the winner, deemed impractical, was discarded. How would a private citizen take the controls to park the plane in his driveway? »reported the daily Releasein October 2020. Instead, lots “equivalent to the value of the aircraft”, were issued but the lottery was not very successful with Mexicans. The government was therefore forced to buy back a large part of the tickets to offer them to hospitals. He would have spent 500 million pesos, or 20 million euros, according to Release.

And can leasing work?

After this failed attempt, Andrés Manuel López Obrador decided to turn to rental to cover the expenses related to the maintenance costs of the device. But with an exorbitant operating cost and limited number of seats, 80 passengers instead of 242 in the normal configuration, the price of renting the Mexican presidential plane should not be accessible to all budgets, even if Andrés Manuel López Obrador did not specify. It is therefore not certain that the new initiative of the Mexican president, to limit the costs of Boeing, will be more successful than the previous ones.

Read also: In which planes do heads of state travel?

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