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Air Force One project again embroiled in lawsuit

written by Hannah Dowling | April 19, 2021

Air Force One takes off from a base in Brisbane, Australia. (Source: Australian Defence Force Image Gallery)

GDC Technics, a subcontractor hired by Boeing to complete the interior fitout on the new Air Force One aircraft, has filed a countersuit against Boeing seeking over $20 million, after the US planemaker cancelled its contract and launched its own suit.

Earlier this month, World of Aviation reported that Boeing cancelled its contract and filed a lawsuit against GDC Technics, the contractor hired to complete interior work on Air Force One, with Boeing stating the work has fallen over a year behind schedule.

Now, GDC Technics has launched a counterclaim against Boeing, and argued that the plane manufacturer’s “mismanagement of the completion of two Air Force One presidential aircraft, not delays caused by GDC, that has caused a delay in the completion of those aircraft”.

Boeing chose to utilise existing aircraft for the two replacement Air Force One aircraft rather than new planes, GDC said.

“Because of its problems with engineering, program management, and its own financial difficulties, Boeing has fallen behind in the project schedule for the aircraft,” the Air Force One interior subcontractor’s claim said.

“Boeing looked to GDC as a scapegoat to excuse its lack of performance on the aircraft to the United States Air Force,” GDC said, adding Boeing’s “false” statements have damaged its reputation with the Air Force “and the aviation industry worldwide”.

In 2018, the US Air Force purchased two undelivered Boeing 747-8 jets, designated VC-25B, to replace the previous 747-200s that have transported US presidents and their staff for more than three decades.


That same year, Boeing secured the $3.9 billion contract to modify the two previously sold but ultimately 747-8 Intercontinental aircraft for use as Air Force One, due to be delivered by December 2024.

Boeing declined to comment on GDC’s filing, however, when filing its own earlier lawsuit stated that GDC Technics’ shortcomings were not expected to delay its planned delivery of the two 747-8 aircraft.

In fact, in April 2020, just one month after the VC-25B project officially began, Boeing stated that the COVID-19 pandemic has allowed it to assign more resources from its commercial aviation sector to the Air Force One project, pushing it ahead of schedule.

The planemaker’s lawsuit claimed that GDC “failed to meet contractual obligations”, and was roughly one year behind schedule.

Boeing also claimed that the substantial delays have “resulted in millions of dollars in damages to Boeing and threaten to jeopardise work that is of critical importance to the US Air Force and the president of the United States”.

The secured 747 aircraft were originally ordered by Russian airline Transaero in 2011, however prior to taking delivery of the jets, the airline filed for bankruptcy as it was dissolved.

The two 747 jumbo jets were then placed into storage in the Mojave Desert to prevent corrosion, and were then sold to the US Air Force in the 2018 deal.

The two planes are to be retrofitted with the necessary telecommunications and security equipment, to bring them inline with security requirements for presidential aircraft, and are due for delivery to the US Air Force by December 2024.

The planes, informally referred to as the flying White House, are heavily modified military-grade 747s, with luxurious interiors that include the President’s suite, multiple sleeping quarters, full-sized lavatories and an Oval Office.


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