Washington: President Joe Biden is sticking with a blue-and-white colour scheme for the exterior of the replacement Air Force One aircraft, the first of which is expected to be delivered in four years.
The Air Force said late Friday that the light blue on the new model of the modified 747s that transport the president will be a little bit deeper and more modern in tone than the robin's egg blue on the versions of the aircraft currently in use.
Boeing is modifying two of its 747-800 aircraft that will use the Air Force One call sign when the president is aboard. They will replace the existing fleet of two aging Boeing 747-200 aircraft the president currently uses.
The choice of the plane's exterior colours follows an earlier decision by the administration to scrap a red-white-and-blue design favored by Donald Trump , Biden's immediate predecessor. An Air Force review had suggested the darker colours would increase costs and delay delivery of the new jumbo jets.
In 2018, Trump directed that the new jets shed the iconic Kennedy-era blue-and-white design for a white-and-navy colour scheme. The top half of the plane would have been white and the bottom, including the belly, would have been dark blue. A streak of dark red would have run from the cockpit to the tail. The colouring was almost identical to the exterior of Trump's personal plane.
Formally known as the VC-25B, the new aircraft will replace the current fleet, known as VC-25A, which the Air Force said face capability gaps, rising maintenance costs and “parts obsolescence.” Modifications to the successor aircraft will include electrical power upgrades, a medical facility and a self-defense system, the Air Force said.
Delivery of the first of the new airplanes is projected for 2027, followed by the second aircraft in 2028, the Air Force said.
The current generation of planes first carried President George H.W. Bush, who served from 1989-1993.