America’s New Air Force One Boeing 747s Have Been Delayed

America’s New Air Force One Boeing 747s Have Been Delayed

The launch of the new Air Force One 747s was almost certain to be postponed due to Boeing’s continuing conflict with interiors contractor GDC Technics. The timetable is likely to change, according to a senior general close to the project, but he is pleased with Boeing’s openness in the process. In 2024, the first 747-8 will arrive.

The delay of Air Force One has been confirmed

This week, a senior Air Force General acknowledged that the next Air Force One would most likely be late. The project’s schedule has been jeopardised due to problems with one of Boeing’s key contractors, which the General has described as a “definite setback.”

According to Defense One, following a McAleese & Associates virtual conference yesterday, Air Force military deputy for acquisition Lt. Gen. Duke Richardson said,

“Of course, we’ll have to look at the timetable, and we’ll have to look at it from a practical standpoint. Boeing is working hard, they’ve found a new supplier, and we’re trying to move as much of the interior work as we can.”

In San Antonio, Texas, a project is underway to turn two Boeing 747-8s into aircraft deserving of the title of “flying White House.” GDC Technics, the company in charge of supplying the planes’ highly customised interiors, is accused of missing critical deadlines.

This came to a head in early April, when Boeing filed a lawsuit against the contractor for the delays, claiming that they “have resulted in millions of dollars in damages to Boeing and threaten to jeopardise work that is vital to the (US Air Force) and the president of the United States.” Despite the GDC delays, Boeing claimed it could still reach the deadline at the time.

America’s New Air Force One

The new VC-25Bs will take the place of the two 747s that are currently used for VIP transportation. Photo: Getty Images

Richardson, on the other hand, assumes there would be a ripple effect. Nonetheless, he doesn’t blame Boeing and claims that the planemaker is keeping the Air Force informed about the situation. According to the latest news from Boeing, the company is debating whether to handle the interiors in-house or hire a third-party firm. According to Richardson,

“We’ve already made a lot of interior choices, but there’s still a lot of work to be done. But I have every confidence in Boeing’s honesty in terms of what happened and what they’re doing to repair it.”

America’s New Air Force One

The bespoke interiors for the aircraft were designed by GDC Technics. Photo: Getty Images

A never-ending war

The fight between GDC Technics and Boeing is still raging. GDC Technics countersued Boeing just a few weeks after Boeing sued the company. Boeing’s mismanagement of the project, not the late delivery of its own work, it said, was to blame for the delays.

GDC said that Boeing had made it a scapegoat by alleging that it had not been paid for work completed. Though both cases are still pending, GDC filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection at the end of April. It said at the time that its financial difficulties stemmed from Boeing withholding $20 million in payments.

Regardless of how the two cases turn out, work on the 747-8s will proceed. Although a decision is taken on the interior solution, Boeing’s San Antonio team is moving forward with other structural modifications on the two planes. By the end of 2024, the first plane should be shipped.

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Cover Photo Credit: Boeing