- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 21, 2016

After meeting Wednesday with Donald Trump, Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg said he would find a way to lower the price for a new Air Force One fleet, the cost of which the president-elect earlier complained was “out of control.”

The aerospace executive said Mr. Trump had a good “business head” and said the price of the Air Force One project would be more affordable than the previously anticipated $4 billion, the price tag cited by the president-elect that included funds already spent on research and development.

“It went great. Very productive, and really encouraged by the dialogue. Good, open discussion,” he told reporters outside Mr. Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida, where the president-elect is holding meeting this week.

“We’re all focused on the same thing here, we’re going to make sure that we give our warfighters the best capability in the world and that we do it in a way that is affordable for our taxpayers,” Mr. Muilenburg said. “It was a terrific conversation. Got a lot of respect for him. He’s a good man. And he’s doing the right thing.”

Asked specifically about the $4 billion price tag for the two planes for the Air Force One fleet, he said it would be done for less.

“We’re going to get it done for less than that, and we’re committed to working together to make sure that happens,” Mr. Muilenburg said. “I was able to give the president-elect my personal commitment on behalf of the Boeing Company. This is a business that’s important to us. We work on Air Force One because it’s important to our country and we’re going to make sure that he gets the best capability and that it’s done affordably.”

Mr. Trump rattled Boeing and the stock market with a tweet early this month in which he said the Pentagon should cancel the Air Force One contract.

“Boeing is building a brand new 747 Air Force One for future presidents, but costs are out of control, more than $4 billion. Cancel order!” Mr. Trump tweeted Dec. 6.

Shares of Boeing stock dropped sharply after the tweet, but recovered later that day.

Mr. Trump had a similar affect on Lockheed Martin when he tweeted about the cost of the F-35 fighter jet program.

Mr. Trump met later Wednesday with Lockheed Martin CEO Marillyn Hewson.

• S.A. Miller can be reached at smiller@washingtontimes.com.

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