Mexico Doesn’t Know What to Do With Its Presidential Dreamliner

(Bloomberg) — A state-of-the-art $130 million presidential Boeing Co. 787 Dreamliner is becoming a headache for the government of Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.

Mexico is flying back the luxurious aircraft from California after failing to sell it for over a year, Lopez Obrador said Tuesday in his daily press conference, adding that they are rethinking options to get rid of the plane that he has deemed as too ostentatious.

AMLO, as the Mexican president is known, put the Dreamliner on the block right after his inauguration in December 2018, choosing to fly commercial airlines instead to make a point about his frugal government style. The plane was flown to a Boeing hangar in Victorville, where the government has been paying maintenance and rent fees while trying to sell it.

A dozen potential bidders surfaced last year but no deal was closed, Jorge Mendoza, chief executive officer of state bank Banobras, which is overseeing the sale process, said at the same conference. The plane has a market value of $130 million, Mendoza said, down from the $219 million that Mexico agreed to pay when it ordered it in 2012.

Read More: Mexico Set for Loss on AMLO Sale of $219 Million Dreamliner

Lopez Obrador said he even offered the plane to U.S. President Donald Trump and agreed to receive goods in exchange, to no avail.

“We give them the plane, they can pay us in kind. We need X-rays, ambulances, tomographs, laboratories,” he said. “We didn’t get an answer.”

The government is now open to renting the plane or splitting ownership among 12 holders, AMLO said, urging Mexicans to make offers for the plane and other aircraft, including helicopters and Gulfstreams, that the government is auctioning. In the meantime, the Air Force will keep the Dreamliner in custody.

AMLO has repeatedly criticized the purchase of the plane as too lavish for the leader of a country with millions living in poverty. The president, who has yet to make his first international trip as head of state, also recently argued that the aircraft is too big and expensive for his traveling schedule, given that he can reach most locations in Mexico in less than two hours with commercial flights.

–With assistance from Lorena Rios and Andrea Navarro.

To contact the reporter on this story: Cyntia Barrera Diaz in Mexico City at cbarrerad@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Juan Pablo Spinetto at jspinetto@bloomberg.net

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