Trump Force One: The US President's private jet
The wealthiest billionaire to have ever taken the office of President of the United States, Donald Trump has been at the heart of many controversies during his first year at the White House. Prior to his political career, the billionaire's life was no less exciting with toys such as a private Boeing 757-200, which the media dubbed Trump Force One.
Now outfitted with 24-karat gold seat belts and finishes, Trump's Boeing started its life in 1991 as part of Sterling Airlines' fleet, a low-cost Danish carrier that has since gone under. Several years later, it was absorbed by Mexican airline, Taesa, which is now also defunct. In 1995, the airplane found its way to the billionaire club, being acquired by Microsoft cofounder, Paul Allen, who used it for nearly 15 years.
In 2011, Trump acquired the 20-year-old jet from Allen, adding his own personal touches to both the interior and his brand to the plane's exterior. This Boeing 757-200 replaced the real estate's mogul former Boeing 727 that was built in 1969 and bore a similar colour scheme. Amongst the plane's features are Rolls-Royce RB211 engines.
"I bought a beautiful 757" Trump told Business Jet Traveler in April 2011. "It's being retroed and will be in service in about three or four weeks. I always felt the 757 was the best looking of all the commercial planes. I like the sleekness, the lines. I'm a very aesthetic person. The 767 is too heavy. If you get a wider plane, you're too far away from the other walls. It's like being in a hotel lobby. It's never felt comfortable to me."
If the private Boeing was to be configured for a low-cost carrier, like it once was, Trump Force One could seat up to 234 passengers. In its current luxurious set up, the jet, however, transports up to 28 guests, in addition to two bedrooms that come complete with two showers. "This is Paul Allen's plane from Microsoft, so it is wired for unbelievable things. Paul did a beautiful job on this plane." Trump told BJT.
Shortly following his acquisition in 2011 of the 757, Trump put up his former airplane for sale, it is however understood that he is still its owner to this date. "I only do about 300 to 400 hours a year, so I'm not a heavy flier." Trump said of his 2011 flying habits, which have likely changed since. "The staff from the 727 is going to my new plane" he added "and actually they're more equipped on the 757s. You know, they've been pilots for airlines."
Ever since him becoming President of the United States, Trump has switched to using Air Force One, the airplane dedicate to America's head of state after long debates with the Secret Service. Shortly following his win, Trump said he would work on getting a new Air Force One built and that Boeing was putting too high prices on the new generation. Its CEO, Dennis Muilenburg, later stated to the press in early 2017 that the two had made great process in this discussion.
"Boeing is building a brand new 747 Air Force One for future presidents, but costs are out of control, more than $4 billion. Cancel order!" Trump had tweeted in December 2016 briefly sending Boeing's stock into a downfall.
Fully customised by Trump and Allen, Trump Force One no longer has anything to do with the low-cost carrier aircraft that it used to be. Rows of small seats have been replaced with comfortable, leather seats that prominently display Trump's family crest. A lounging space was set apart for watching TV and each seat was fitted with its own information and video system. A separate lounging that converts into a second bedroom can also be found onboard the plane.
In addition to its bedrooms and onboard showers, Trump Force One has a dinning room, which can sit up to 6 passengers at a time. Other dinning areas can also be set up around different seats whilst in the air as is typical even on smaller private jets. All seatbelts on the private jet are finished in gold to add a sense of refinement to the aircraft and so is its bathroom.
Similarly to its feel, flying Trump Force One is not a cheap thing to do, which is reportedly why Trump won't let his kids fly his planes for their personal trips unless they cover expenses. Indeed an hour of flight on the aircraft costs about $10,800 according to specialised media. On a flight from New York to Miami, would hence cost about $30,000 just in expenses. Whilst substantial, it would still be just 40% of chartering a similar plane for such a flight according to the current market.
When asked in 2011 by the Palm Beach Post if his aircraft would be used for his upcoming political campaign, Trump responded "It's a big plane. We'll see what happens. It's one of the quietest planes there is. I did that for the people of Palm Beach." Forbes speculated at the time that Trump may have gotten a great deal for the private jet due to a particularly low market that stemmed from Obama shunning corporate executives for using private jets in a recession.
Currently valued by Forbes at $3.1 billion, Trump serves as the United States' 45th president since January 20th 2017. Having sparked controversies throughout the world due to his polarising views on a number of domestic and foreign issues, he has recently led a series of reforms to have US conglomerates bring back a large portion of their cash back to the United States.
After getting a start at his father's real estate development company, Trump started his Manhattan real estate crusade, acquiring part of the Commodore Hotel in 1978. Following this, Trump embarked on building Trump Tower, which was completed in 1983. Five years later, Trump bought the Plaza Hotel for $407 million and invested $50 million into its refurbishment. At the same time, Trump started branching out of Manhattan, building in Palm Beach, Atlantic City and ventured int golf.
Trump's net worth is still predominantly tied to his New York-assets though, with $1,6 billion in real estate. The billionaire has another $500 million in real estate in another cities, in addition to $570 million worth of golf clubs and resorts according to Forbes. His branding business, which includes hotel management and product licensing is currently valued at $200 million. "Money was never a big motivation for me, except as a way to keep score. The real excitement is playing the game." Trump said in his book, The Art of the Deal.