Trump’s personal Boeing 757 was a symbol of status,a sign that he had made it.
Today it sits idle on an airport ramp in upstate New York, about 60 miles north of NYC, where the former POTUS is not welcome by the vast majority of its residents.
According to CNN,
An engine is missing parts. The other is shrink-wrapped in plastic. The cost to fix and get it flyable could reach well into the high six-figures, a price-tag Trump doesn’t appear to be dealing with right now. Though the current state of his finances aren’t public, the Covid-19 pandemic has taken a toll on the hospitality industry home to so many of his businesses.
Flight records accessed by CNN show the 757 hasn’t been flown at all since Inauguration Day, when Trump’s use of Air Force One ended, leaving him to less showy modes of transport. A representative for the Trump Organization did not immediately return CNN’s request for comment as to why the plane is not being used, nor has been fixed — and whether or not Trump intends to get it in flying shape anytime soon.
A CNN camera crew saw Trump’s plane parked on a fenced-off tarmac at the small upstate New York airport on Wednesday, about an hour and a half drive from Trump Tower. The choice to leave it outside at a northeastern airport, exposed to the elements, has baffled aviation experts who spoke with CNN.
They note that it’s just a few hours’ flight to warmer, more arid climes. Snow, rain, and moisture can lead to metal corrosion of the airframe and the engines — hard to detect, and, in severe cases, catastrophic. Large airplanes are typically stored for long stretches of time in the desert southwest, where the dry climate makes corrosion nearly impossible.
With his 757 out of commission, Trump is left with a much smaller corporate jet. According to flight data, Trump’s 1997 Cessna 750 Citation X has been in semi-regular rotation for the last few months, often flying between Palm Beach International Airport and LaGuardia Airport in New York.
It was this smaller plane Trump flew on when he made his first post-presidency trip back to Manhattan earlier this month.
A former White House official who frequently flew with Trump on both planes said,
“The small jet isn’t his favorite.”
Like many Trump showy props, used for the purpose of marketing, the reality of such a huge jet is different in reality.
It was a money suck, a plane past its prime with decaying mechanics and exorbitant storage fees.
A former senior official says,
“Flying that thing was so expensive. I don’t think people realized that just to get it up in the air and make one stop was literally tens of thousands of dollars.”
The cost to fly a Boeing 757 is about $15,000 to $18,000 per hour, according to CNN aviation analyst David Soucie.
The extravagance of such a huge private jet may now be too much for Trump’s finances to handle. According to CNN, his net worth has taken a tumble over the last few years.
- Trump is personally liable for debts and loans totaling $421 million, according to the New York Times reporting. Most of that debt comes due in the next four years
- Some of his best-known business ventures report losing millions, if not tens of millions, of dollars year after year, according to the Times. That includes golf courses that have racked up at least $315 million in losses over the past two decades
- A Bloomberg News report this week estimates that Trump’s net worth has fallen by $700 million since February 2016, from $3 billion to $2.3 billion
“Anything metal on that plane’s interior — lights, seat buckles, handles, latches, knobs — we did in 24-karat gold plating.” –Eric Roth, president of Long Island-based International Jet Interiors
Trump could use money in his political action committees to pay for the plane upgrades, or other expenses.
Paul S. Ryan, an expert on campaign finance and a top lawyer at Common Cause, a good governance non-profit says,
“PACs are often used as slush funds.
Campaign finance law doesn’t require PAC money to be used for political purposes, leaving open the possibility that Trump could use PAC funds to pay for private plane repairs.”
So will Trump fix his busted 757 with Super PAC slushy money, fly his fat ass in his tiny 8 seater plane or (gasp!) FLY COMMERCIAL!?
A former official was asked whether there will ever come a day when Trump would take a commercial flight….?
“Honestly? I think if it was a choice of flying on a commercial plane or staying home, he would just stay home.”
Stay home. Sounds like a plan. Except that home is now Mar-a-Lago, currently closed due to a COVID outbreak.