Mexico finally sells controversial presidential plane to Tajikistan

Mexico City, Apr 20 (EFE).- Mexico’s President Andrés Manuel López Obrador announced Thursday that the presidential plane, which his government had been trying to sell since taking office in December 2018, was sold to Tajikistan for 1.66 billion pesos (about $92 million).

“I inform the people of Mexico that the contract for the sale of the presidential plane was signed today,” López Obrador wrote in a post on social media along with a video showing him seated in the plane.

“The government of Tajikistan deposited 1,658,684,400 pesos, in accordance with the official appraisal,” he added.

The president said that the proceeds from the sale will be used to build two hospitals, one in Tlapa in Guerrero state and the other in Tuxtepec in Oaxaca, both in southern Mexico.

He added that the hospitals would be built by military engineers and inaugurated before the end of his term, in September 2024.

The Mexican president had said on several occasions that he would not sell the plane for less than $110 million – the value of the first appraisal -, but in the end he had to settle for less.

López Obrador had hinted at a possible agreement at his daily press conference on Thursday.

“There is an agreement…I do not know if it has already been signed, so we are going to wait, but there is that possibility,” the president said.

Since taking office in December 2018, López Obrador has tried to sell the Boeing 787 purchased by President Felipe Calderón (2006-2012) for a controversial price of $218.7 million, but which arrived in Mexico in 2016 during the presidency of Enrique Peña Nieto (2012-2018).

López Obrador, who even tried to raffle-off the aircraft in 2020, has claimed on several occasions that the aircraft is “very luxurious” so his government has not been able to sell it despite it being one of their main electoral promises.

The last time he spoke about a potential buyer was in June, when he said that Argentina was interested in the aircraft.

The president, who projects an image of austerity, has chosen not to use the plane and takes commercial flights.

He has also banned public officials from using it.

The aircraft is in the hands of the Mexican army, which keeps it at a military base in Santa Lucia, north of Mexico City, where the government has offered to rent it for weddings, birthdays and corporate events. EFE


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