Mexican Presidential Jet Finally Has a Buyer
PULSE NEWS MEXICO
After having tried to sell, auction, rent, raffle and even swap out Mexico’s presidential jet for firefighting aircraft, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) announced Thursday, April 20, that his administration — which grounded the jet rather than to appear elitist by using it — now has a buyer for the plane, which has been sitting unused for more than four years.
During his morning press conference at the National Palace Thursday, AMLO said that the plane, which was purchased by former Mexican President Felipe Calderón Hinojosa for $218 million and was delivered in 2016 during the six-year term of his successor, President Enrique Peña Nieto, could have a potential buyer, although the details of the sale are still being discussed.
“There is the possibility that (the presidential plane) will be sold, I can’t say more,” AMLO told reporters.
AMLO went on to say that if the deal does go through, the money raised from the sale would be used to build two new hospitals, one in Tlapa, Guerrero, and one in Tuxtepec, Oaxaca, both impoverished states.
Later in the day, AMLO announced that the buyer was the government of Tajikistan, which will pay $92 million.
He said that while negotiations are now underway for the sale, no contract has yet been closed.
When AMLO took office in December 2018, he promised to get rid of the plane because he felt it was pretentious.
After he had no takers for its sale, he held a national raffle but ended up giving the winners a lump sum of money instead of the aircraft.
For months, the plane sat in a U.S. tarmac being serviced, but when that became too expensive, AMLO had it returned to Mexico, where its structure deteriorated, making it less attractive for potential buyers.
The president then said he would give it to the National Defense Secretariat (Sedena) to be used as part of the fleet of their nonexistent commercial airlines, but that did not happen, presumably because cost of upkeep would be higher than any possible use of the craft.
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