The Mexican government just sold its $218 million Boeing 787 private jet its president refused to use — see inside the plane

The Mexican government just sold its 8 million Boeing 787 private jet its president refused to use — see inside the plane

Posted For: Emailed to TNBD

By Taylor Rains

Mexico has finally gotten rid of its unwanted presidential plane.
Mexico’s former presidential Boeing 787 aircraft.

Source: AP

In mid-April, Mexican president Andrés Manuel López Obrador announced the nation’s VIP Boeing 787 private jet had been sold to Tajikistan for $92 million.
President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (right) sitting onboard the 787.

Source: AP

The Dreamliner started its journey to the Central Asian nation on Friday, first flying to Tucson, Arizona, for customs clearance, per the Mexican government. The jet will then travel to California for a new paint job.
Nomadic Aviation Group managed the transfer.

Source: FlightRadar24 Mexican Government

According to López Obrador, the price tag reflected the jet’s depreciation. Speaking in Veracruz on April 21, he said the money will be used to build two new hospitals in the Mexican cities of Tlapa and Tuxtepec.
The Mexican presidential plane departing Mexico City.

Source: Flight Global Aviacionline

“Wow, it was difficult for us to find a client,” he said. “We are like the nouveau riche, who buy a yacht or an airplane like this, and are only happy the day they launch it and the day they sell it.”
Pilots in the cockpit of the VIP Boeing 787.

Source: Mexican Government Andrés Manuel

Mexico’s fancy presidential jet was purchased for $218 million in 2012 by then-president Felipe Calderón as a replacement for the country’s aging VIP Boeing 757.
Mexico’s former presidential Boeing 757.

Source: CNN

But, it wasn’t delivered until 2016 — after he left office — and fell into the lap of Calderón’s successor, Enrique Peña Nieto, who was the president before López Obrador.
Mexico’s President Enrique Pena Nieto leaves the 787 plane upon arrival at the CATAM military airport in Bogota, on August 6, 2018

Source: CNN

The 80-seater plane — which is actually one of six 787 test aircraft built by Boeing — was equipped with a presidential suite, complete with a private office, shower, meeting room, king-sized bed, and treadmill…

The private bedroom onboard the VIP Boeing 787.

Source: Insider The Points Guy Mexican Government

…as well as conference tables and large reclining seats each with an inflight entertainment system, according to the Mexican government.
Inside the VIP Boeing 787.

Source: Insider Mexican Government

But, López Obrador says the jet’s lavish decor was purchased during a “paranoiac” era and is an “insult” to Mexico’s people: “Not even Obama has a plane like this one.”
Inside Mexico’s former VIP Boeing 787.

Source: Insider

Because of this, he deemed the “ostentatious” plane too luxurious to fly in and instead regularly flies commercial.
President López Obrador on a commercial flight.

Source: Flight Global

Moreover, he criticized his predecessor Peña Nieto for spending $19 million on travel from 2012 to 2015 — López Obrador only spent $1 million from 2018-2021, Forbes Mexico reported.
Enrique Pena Nieto with first lady Angelica Rivera Hurtado in front of the Boeing 787.

Source: Forbes Mexico

“Imagine, there are no longer private planes, private helicopters,” he said in 2019. “I was not going to get on the presidential plane, a very luxurious plane with so much poverty in our town.”
Mexican president Andrés Manuel López Obrador in front of the 787 engine during a July 2020 press conference.

Source: Forbes Mexico

But, grounding the plane was costly. In 2022 alone, Mexico spent over $15 million on lease payments — and that doesn’t include the millions it spent on upkeep.
Upkeep includes maintenance to maintain airworthiness.

The deal with Tajikistan comes after years of failed attempts to find a buyer, which has been ongoing since López Obrador took office in 2018.

In early 2020, the president tried to sell the jet to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, saying his 787 was “bigger…and better” than Canada’s current VIP plane.
Canada declined the offer.

Two years later, Mexico turned its eyes to Argentina. However, the South American country said the Dreamliner’s high price tag — which was $110 million at the time — was higher than its $30 million budget.
Argentina has since spent $25 million to replace its aging Boeing 757 presidential plane (pictured) with a new and improved VVIP Boeing 757.

After the rejection, the president saw the odds of selling the 787 as minuscule — especially since converting it into a 300-seat passenger plane would be too costly for airlines.
The economy cabin of a Singapore Airlines’ Boeing 787.

Source: Insider

So, López Obrador decided to rent out the Dreamliner for private events, like weddings, quinceañeras, and parties. Anyone could reserve the plane and the revenue would help with maintenance costs.
The rental announcement was made in April 2022, so it only lasted about one year.

Source: Insider

More recently, the president said he tried to sell the jet to Mexican flag carrier Aeroméxico, and even to US heads of state.
Aeroméxico aircraft.

Source: Flight Global

“I offered it to President Trump,” López Obrador said in April. “I offered it to President Biden, we offered it to Vice-President Kamala Harris – she just laughed when I explained what the aircraft was like.”

Source: Flight Global

However, the most controversial attempt to abandon the plane was to host a lottery in September 2020. A law preventing the raffling of government assets ended the plan.
The VIP Boeing 787.

See inside the $218 million Boeing 787 jet that Mexico’s president refuses to use and is now renting out for parties instead

Instead, the event became “symbolic” and Mexico hoped to raise $142 million, with 100 people splitting two-thirds of the prize and the excess funds going to underfunded public hospitals.
The lottery tickets for the VIP Boeing 787.

Source: CNN

More than 4.2 million tickets were sold for $25 each, amounting to over $105 million raised. The 100 winners were selected at a ceremony in Mexico City and each got about $1 million.
People queue up to buy lottery tickets for a Mexico luxury presidential plane for sale at a raffle ticket booth in Mexico City.

Source: CNN

However, some experts say the move was just for political gain: “What matters to him is to say ‘look at the luxuries and privileges of the past and instead I’m austere’,” analyst and historian Jose Antonio Crespo told AFP in 2020.
Mexican president Andrés Manuel López Obrador announced the lottery in hopes of raising $142 million.

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