Despite claims on the campaign trail that President-elect Donald Trump would swap out Air Force One for his private jet, crucial security measures on the presidential aircraft may force Trump to give up his penthouse in the sky.
Trump broke presidential tradition on Nov. 11 by taking his own personal aircraft, not the plane that usually serves as Air Force One, to his meeting at the White House with outgoing President Barack Obama, according to CNN.
Trump’s personal Boeing 757, originally purchased in 2011, is valued at over $100 million, and has luxury fittings such as gold-plated fixtures, wood paneling and silk pillows.
According to a recent Discovery Channel documentary, the businessman previously referred to the aircraft as the “T-Bird,” but renamed it to commemorate his nomination as the “Trump Force One.”
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Trump has defended his use of the aircraft as a cost-effective and ecologically sound choice, claiming the Air Force One had “old engines” that contribute to a large carbon footprint, according to The Telegraph.
“Watch Obama talking about the carbon footprint, and then he flies over Hawaii in an old 747 with the old engines spewing the hell out of it,” Trump said. “If you’re a believer in carbon footprint, you don’t like this, right?”
Despite all its luxuries, a U.S. official has deemed the Trump Force One “functionally impossible” to use as a presidential aircraft, which must have special security features to protect the commander in chief in flight.
The Trump Force One is considerably smaller than the current presidential aircraft, with a wingspan of 125 feet compared to Air Force One’s 195-foot wingspan. Additionally, while Air Force One can transport up to 102 people, Trump’s jet only has room to seat 43.
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Air Force One has also been equipped to evade military attacks from air missiles, nuclear blasts or other airborne threats, and houses a special communications package for the president to receive classified information while in flight.
Although Trump will have robust security around any airport the jet leaves from, the U.S. official said the Trump Force One does not have the space or technology to accommodate the military staff the president must travel with.
Trump has the option to upgrade his personal aircraft with Air Force One security equipment, but the official has said it would be "cost prohibitive to install all of that on Trump's own plane and he would have to foot the bill for that" according to CNN.
The official added, "No one tells the president he can't do something. Instead, you lay out all the reasons it's functionally impossible."
Upgrading the Trump Force One to a presidential airplane would be just that, the official said: almost functionally impossible.
Trump’s objections to Air Force One have made some speculate whether the president-elect will seek to maintain his celebrity image throughout his presidency, which includes luxuries such as his personal jet and New York City penthouse outfitted with gold cutlery, according to House Beautiful.
In the meantime, Trump will not have to attend to his presidency in squalor. Air Force One is equipped with its own luxuries, including a conference room, gym, bedroom and cable TV.