Amy Butler, of Aviation Week, sneaked a big scoop into the magazine blog’s Check 6 podcast this morning. In the weekly “missed approaches” segment, she reports:
Amy Butler:Well, this missed approach is just something that’s been under the radar atleast to me, maybe not to other people. But I was interviewing an air forceofficial this week and it came to my attention that apparently the White Househas just recently begun discussions with Air Mobility Command … and apparentlythey’re saying that by 2017 they would like to have a new air force one on theramp.
And if that’strue – and I think it is – that’s a pretty big deal and a pretty aggressiveschedule. And I’m kind of curious to see a couple of things. One, what the requirementswould be and what would drive them to abandon the current model with the 747. Also,two, if the Obama Administration comes in and says, ‘Hey, wait a minute in thevein of sort of finding savings … if maybe the Obama administration might beless aggressive and maybe push that back a bit.”
The USAF’s two VC-25s are among the last 747-200s that rolled off Boeing’s assembly line in the early 1990s before it upgraded to the 747-400. Fuel costs have forced most commercial carriers to abandon the -200 as the youngest aircraft approach their 20th year in operations.
This blog reported last year that a USAF analysis of alternatives had identified the Airbus A380 as one of the candidates for Air Force One.
A Boeing-Airbus competition for Air Force One could make the furor over the tanker contract sound like child’s play.