Mexico's President Dumps Unwanted Luxury Jet for $92M

Austerity-loving Lopez Obrador sells presidential plane to former Soviet republic of Tajikistan
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 21, 2023 7:11 AM CDT
Mexico Finally Unloads Unwanted Presidential Jet on Tajikistan
In this July 27, 2020, file photo, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, center left, waves to the press as he arrives to give his morning press conference in front of the former presidential plane at Benito Juarez International Airport in Mexico City.   (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte, File)

After almost 4 1/2 years of trying, Mexico's president said Thursday he has finally sold his unwanted presidential jet—to the former Soviet republic of Tajikistan. President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said that nation's government paid the equivalent of about $92 million for the Boeing 787 jet. Lopez Obrador refused to use the jet after taking office on Dec. 1, 2018, saying it was too luxurious. The austerity-loving president usually takes commercial flights, per the AP.

Lopez Obrador had tried to lure corporations and business executives to buy the jet, but he found no takers. He even symbolically "raffled off" the plane, which would be expensive to convert back into a normal airliner. The plane was purchased for $200 million and was used by the previous president, Enrique Pena Nieto. It has been difficult to sell the plane because it's configured to carry only 80 people and has a full presidential suite with a private bath. Experts say it would be costly to reconfigure into a typical passenger jet that would carry up to 300 passengers.

Though the plane has relatively few miles on it, Mexico was eager to unload it because maintenance costs make it expensive to keep parked. There'd been talk the Boeing 787 might be turned over to an army-run company for use as a commercial jet. "After a long time, we managed to sell the plane," Lopez Obrador said in a video clip from inside the plane, which he'd previously refused to board. "We are happy." He added: "We are going to use the money from selling the plane to build two hospitals." (More Mexico stories.)

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