Mexico City, Dec 4 (IANS) Mexico’s presidential jet was flown Monday to the Boeing facility in Victorville, California, where it will be housed until being sold by order of the new president, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.
The Boeing 787-8 took off around 11 am from the presidential hangar at the Mexico City International Airport, reports Efe.
The aircraft was acquired in 2012 by then-President Felipe Calderon, although it did not arrive in Mexico until February 2016, during the presidency of Enrique Peña Nieto, amid criticism for its $218.7 million price tag.
The Southern California Logistics Airport in Victorville is home to Boeing AOG, where mechanics and other technicians perform specialized repairs, maintenance and modifications on Boeing aircraft.
It will remain there during the sale process, whereby the Mexican government will seek to “maximize the value of the aircraft,” the Finance Secretariat said, making every effort to avoid taking a loss on the transaction.
Finance Secretary Carlos Urzua on Sunday personally reviewed the status of the plane, which can carry 80 passengers and is equipped with a full bathroom, a bedroom and an office for the president.
“Not Obama, not Trump … not Lopez Obrador,” the secretary wrote on Twitter, referring to the words of Lopez Obrador, who during his election campaign claimed that not even US presidents had such a luxurious plane.
Lopez Obrador has always said that he would not use the plane because its cost was “an offense to the public.”
So far, the new president has opted to travel on commercial airlines as part of what he calls “republican austerity.”
Other measures under that policy have included slashing his own salary by 60 per cent and deciding to continue living in his home instead of moving into the presidential palace, which he says he plans to transform into a space for art and culture.