04:02 GMT +323 September 2019
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    Presidential hopeful Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador gives a press conference in Mexico City

    Mexico's President-Elect Eager to Sell Presidential Jet

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    Mexican President-Elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador, popularly referred to by his initials, AMLO, told reporters on Friday to spread the word on the sale of Mexico's luxurious presidential plane, the Jose Maria Morelos y Pavón.

    The presidential jet, a Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner which was commissioned in 2012 and delivered in 2016 to the tune of roughly $218 million, simply must go, according to AMLO, who made it one of his campaign promises to part ways with the costly aircraft. The 65-year-old has instead vowed to travel on commercial flights.

    "It's not just efficient and modern. It's a comfortable plane, with a bedroom, a restaurant, lots of space," Obrador told reporters on Friday. "If you want to buy it, I'll deliver it myself."

    "We'd have a ceremony. And you'd be traveling on a very important airplane. It's not just the cost of the plane, the value of the plane, the usefulness of the plane: It's the fame," he added.

    Noting that the plane's maintenance costs amount to some $25 million each year, AMLO went on to urge journalists to "help me transmit this call, so it travels all around the world" to interested buyers.

    Profits from the sale of the presidential jet and the leasing out of other airplanes and helicopters owned by the Mexican government will be transferred to social programs, according to NPR.

    "We aren't going to use this fleet," the president-elect previously said in August. In that same month, Obrador announced at a news conference that he'd received a proposal from a Florida-based company, JetLease, about leasing out the Mexican fleet.

    Russell Dise, chief executive of JetLease, told the Washington Post that following month that he'd already gotten a few bites from "some sheiks."

    "I asked them, ‘If I had a 787, would you be interested?'" Dise, who's a supporter of US President Donald Trump and advocate of the US-Mexico border wall, told the Post. "I guess we'd have to paint over the [Mexican] flags."

    Dise later added that his support for 45 shouldn't overshadow his sincere proposal. "We would protect these airplanes for the Mexican government. We love our Mexican friends," he said.

    In September, when Obrador spent several hours grounded on a commercial jet due to weather delays, the official stuck to his guns, telling reporters that he doesn't intend to change his mind on the sale.

    "I'm not going to change my mind because of this," he said. "I'm never getting on the presidential plane. I'd die of shame to use such a luxurious plane in a country with so much poverty."

    In addition to ditching the presidential jet, the Tepetitán native has also proposed opening the Los Pinos presidential palace to the public, getting rid of presidential bodyguards and cutting his own salary by some 60 percent, according to the Guardian.

    Obrador, who clinched the presidential seat in July, will take office on December 1, 2018.


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