The Mexican president is taking drastic steps to get rid of his Boeing 787 private jet. Having had it up for sale for almost a year, and with no buyers yet, the president has floated the idea of holding a raffle to bequeath the plane to one lucky winner, with tickets priced at just $27!
Own a Dreamliner for $27
What do you do when you can’t find a buyer for a high priced item? Why, you raffle it, of course. We’ve seen several iterations of this idea here in the UK, as owners of large country homes give up on finding a lottery winner to buy their place, and instead choose to raffle it off.
Now, it seems that the Mexican President has taken some inspiration from this rather out of the box way of offloading expensive stuff. Bloomberg reports that President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is contemplating holding a raffle to get rid of the nation’s presidential jet, a Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
The plan involves selling tickets to purchase the plane for as little as 500 pesos each (around $27). Altogether, six million tickets are hoped to be sold in order to recover the value from the plane. The Guardian says that the president has even offered to throw in a year’s free operating time in case the winner doesn’t have the funds to operate the aircraft.
Naturally, upon hearing the news, the Mexican public obliged with a variety of aviation-related memes.
— Erin C. O'Reilly 🌐 (@ecoreilles) January 18, 2020
— Nahum Chow (@nahumshow) January 17, 2020
— Mauricio Ruiz (@micosolvan) January 17, 2020
— GPichardo🖤 (@gpichardo1203) January 17, 2020
— Liz Gómez (@MixLizGomez) January 19, 2020
Why does Obrador want to sell the Dreamliner?
You’d think having a fully equipped Boeing 787 at his disposal would be a good thing for Mexico’s president. However, this president has a very different way of looking at things from the last president of Mexico.
The Dreamliner was bought by his predecessor, Enrique Peña Nieto. When it was delivered in 2016, it was estimated to have cost the nation around $218m, making it one of the most expensive presidential airplanes in the world. Nieto enjoyed the status, luxury and protection of having his own private widebody, and used it for many trips around the world.
Obrador, conversely, is the face of austerity for Mexico. He believes in saving cash, and has vowed to only fly on commercial airliners, in economy class no less, and says he will never step foot on the 787. He believes it is a symbol of ‘excess and corruption’ in a nation where more than half the population is living in poverty.
Since taking office, Obrador has sold off a number of governmental planes and helicopters. True to his word, he has frequently taken commercial flights, and has slashed his own salary as well as disbanding the presidential security detail. Keen to put words into action, the president has been trying to sell the 787 for some time.
Coming back from the USA
The president rehomed the Boeing 787 Dreamliner to Southern California Logistics Airport around nine months ago, in the hope that it would stand more chance of finding a buyer from there. Stored in a hangar, the aircraft attracted 42 potential buyers, 12 who went on to submit an expression of interest. Mexico News Daily says that six even made above value offers for the jet, but for one reason or another, the sale never completed.
All the while, the costs of maintaining and storing the plane continued to mount up. Altogether, storing the plane in California has cost Mexico another $1.5m, providing a strong reason to return it from the USA. The aircraft is now returning to Mexico, where the president will begin his push to offload the aircraft.
As well as a raffle, the president has floated various other ideas for the aircraft, including leasing it by the hour and selling it to a group of businesspeople.