The White House Was Going to Pay Boeing $24 Million for 2 Refrigerators on Air Force One. Not Anymore
In a letter to Rep. Joe Courtney (D-Conn.), Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson said the Air Force and White House Military Office decided to cancel the purchase until the new Air Force One planes that Boeing won the contract for last September are delivered. Wilson stressed that if the delivery of those planes is delayed, they will have to reconsider the possibility of replacement. Courtney said a $24 million sole-source contract “just didn’t pass the smell test.”
The refrigerators on Air Force One are required to carry 3,000 meals in order to feed passengers and crew for four weeks in case of an emergency that prevents the plane from landing. Some of the refrigeration units that have been in use on Air Force One since 1990 have begun to deteriorate, despite proper maintenance, and in January Air Force spokesperson Ann Stefanek told CNN that they are “unable to effectively support mission requirements for food storage.”
The refrigerator debacle comes after a year of President Trump publicly railing against the estimated cost of the two new presidential airplanes. Boeing and Trump reached an informal deal in February that would cap the price at $3.9 billion. A White House Spokesman said that deal would save the taxpayer $1.4 billion, though it was not immediately evident which savings he was referring to. A 2016 Government Accountability Office report indicated the cost of replacing the planes would be $3.2 billion over 10 years.