The Trump administration has signed a contract with Boeing to replace two refrigerators aboard Air Force One, the President’s plane, at a cost of nearly $24 million. The US Air Force awarded Boeing a $23.6 million contract in December to replace two of the five “cold chiller units” aboard the aircraft used by President Donald Trump, CNN reported. The coolers on the presidential aircraft need to have the capacity to store 3,000 meals onboard and two out of the five are in need of replacement, according to military specifications. The refrigerators have been on the plane since 1990 when Boeing first gave the Air Force the customised aircraft. Before taking office, Trump complained about the high costs of Air Force One, tweeting that the Air Force should “cancel order!” Air Force spokeswoman Ann Stefanek told CNN that some of the equipment on board was in need of replacement because of decreasing performance. The upgrades are expected to be completed by October 2019.
“Although serviced on a regular basis, reliability has decreased with failures increasing, especially in hot/humid environments. The units are unable to effectively support mission requirements for food storage,” she said. “The engineering required to design, manufacture, conduct environmental testing and obtain Federal Aviation Administration certification are included in the cost,” she added.
A consultant told Defence One that the plane was expensive not because Boeing was gouging the government but because military requirements for the craft were expensive to fulfil. “It’s not a contractor issue, it is a requirements issue,” said Richard Aboulafia, vice-president of analysis at the Teal Group consulting firm. “It’s not getting people rich.” Former senior adviser to President Barack Obama Eric Schultz mocked the high price tag in a tweet on Friday, saying, “we would have been impeached” over it.