Boeing has 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.
The US Air Force has 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.
The planes, informally referred to as the flying White House, are heavily modified military-grade Boeing 747s, with luxurious interiors that include the President’s suite, multiple sleeping quarters, full-sized lavatories and an Oval Office.
GDC Technics signed on to design and build the interior of the flying White House, however Boeing now claims the company has to date “failed to meet contractual obligations”.
In the lawsuit filed in a Texas state court, Boeing claimed that GDC is now “roughly one year behind schedule” of its contractual obligations.
The planemaker 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”.
Despite the significant delays imposed by GDC, Boeing claims it is still on track to deliver the aircraft by the end of 2024 as planned.
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 assigned more resources from its commercial aviation sector to the Air Force One project, pushing it ahead of schedule.
In 2018, Boeing secured the $3.9 billion contract to modify two previously sold but ultimately undelivered 747-8 Intercontinental aircraft into the eventual replacement of the VC-25A Air Force One aircraft.
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.