Mexico’s Lavish Presidential Plane Arrives at Its New Home in Tajikistan

A aircraft that Andrés Manuel López Obrador, the president of Mexico, as soon as described as an “insult to the folks” arrived in Tajikistan on Monday, he mentioned, finishing the sale of the jet to that nation’s authorities and delivering on a marketing campaign promise to put off it.

Since he was elected in 2018, Mr. López Obrador, often called AMLO, has struggled to discover a purchaser for the Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner, which was ordered by former president Felipe Calderón and utilized by his successor, Enrique Peña Nieto.

“I don’t know why they purchased such a big aircraft,” Mr. López Obrador mentioned in Spanish at a information convention on Monday.

Through the years, Mr. López Obrador mentioned he had provided to promote it to former President Donald Trump, President Biden and Vice President Harris. At one level, Mr. López Obrador tried to raffle off the aircraft, which got here with many facilities, together with a treadmill.

“We couldn’t promote it due to the luxurious of the aircraft,” Mr. López Obrador mentioned.

Finally, the federal government of Tajikistan purchased the jet for $92 million, or about $1.6 billion Mexican pesos. The sale was introduced by the Mexican authorities final month. The aircraft then wanted to be ready for the federal government of Tajikistan. It’s unclear how a lot was spent on refurbishing it.

On the information convention, Mr. López Obrador confirmed pictures of the jet’s new design, which says “Tajikistan” in all capital letters alongside the aspect and has a tail painted to appear to be that of the Tajik flag.

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The federal government of Tajikistan didn’t instantly reply to an electronic mail requesting remark in regards to the aircraft on Monday.

Using such a lavish jet is sure to attract criticism in Tajikistan. The nation, which is in Central Asia and shares borders with Afghanistan, China, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, is among the many poorest international locations within the area and relies upon largely on remittances, based on the U.S. State Division.

The presidential jet, which was being saved in San Bernardino, Calif., took off from that state early Sunday morning and arrived in Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan, round 7:30 a.m. native time on Monday, based on data from FlightAware, a flight-tracking firm.

Mr. López Obrador, who flies on industrial airways when he travels, promised throughout his marketing campaign that he would promote the aircraft, beforehand calling it “an instance of the excesses” of Mexico’s former leaders.

A number of the cash from the sale will probably be used to construct two hospitals, one within the state of Guerrero and one other in Oaxaca, Mr. López Obrador mentioned on Monday.

“If I had used it, we might have spent rather a lot,” Mr. López Obrador mentioned, citing examples of further prices wanted for the aircraft corresponding to Wi-Fi.

The aircraft was designed for long-haul flights, Mr. López Obrador mentioned, including that it wasn’t sensible for home flights in Mexico.

“It wasn’t simply the price of utilizing it and the upkeep,” Mr. López Obrador mentioned. “Technically, it wasn’t handy.”

Natalie Kitroeff contributed reporting.

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