The Presidential Plane of Mexico will be available soon to rent for weddings, quinceañeras and other celebrations of the sort. During a press conference on Monday, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador announced his plan to lend the airplane — essentially the Mexican Air Force One — to any one planning an upcoming wedding or fifteenth birthday bash. For a fee, of course!
Here’s an excerpt from the Mexican president and rental associate, himself:
If someone is getting married or celebrating 15 years or other birthday or if a company wants to recognize and reward its workers, they rent it to go to Cancun, or los Cabos[.] It will be kept as-is, as designed, so others can know what a presidential plane is like[.] It’s very impressive, very luxurious, such that it’s a whole experience. People do it all, there are those paying to go to space and paying dearly, so, the plane will be here,”
AMLO has been trying to offload the Presidential Plane since the beginning of his term and even before it. During his campaign for the presidency, AMLO promised to sell the plane and fly commercial so his administration would not incur further expenses through the use of the Boing 787-8 Dreamliner, dubbed the José María Morelos y Pavón.
OK. That’s quite a mouthful but the plane’s call sign is easy: TP-01, or Tango Papa, which stands for “presidential transport.” The Tango Papa was used by the previous president of Mexico, Enrique Peña Nieto, and was expected to cost $127 million, according to El País.
In the end, the Mexican government would pay closer to $219 million over a 15-year period. And AMLO would often use the plane to point out the excess and corruption of his predecessors.
He grounded the plane shortly after becoming president and listed it for sale. But the problem AMLO ran into was that nobody bit. The plane went unsold since 2018 and languished for years, as El País reports. The president grew desperate by 2020 and raffled the airplane off in convoluted arrangement to shore up the cost. Raffle winners would not fly the plane home; instead, 100 winners would get $20 million pesos each. Yeah, it’s a mess.
And now this latest scheme from the Mexican president is how AMLO plans to not lose more money on the plane by renting it out, rather than taking a bath on a sale. But according to analysts, because of the plane’s security equipment and modifications (it fits 80 passengers down from 242) the operational costs start at $500,000 pesos, or over $25,000, per flight hour. So, you can imagine the rental won’t be cheap. I really hope that wedding or quinceañera is worth it!