Mexico’s president flies commercial, so he wants to raffle off the $130 million presidential jet

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Mexico's president flies commercial, so he wants to raffle off the $130 million presidential jet


Since his days on the campaign trail, the anti-establishment, populist leader has vowed to sell his country’s luxurious presidential plane, arguing that it cost taxpayers millions of dollars that could be better spent on helping the country’s poorer communities.

But since López Obrador’s inauguration in 2018, Mexico’s presidential aircraft has sat unused, collecting dust.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Boeing 787-8 plane has proved particularly tough to sell. (The $130 million aircraft is pricey.)

Attempts to sell it to the United States or Canada or exchange it for medical equipment have so far been unsuccessful.

And the costs of storing and maintaining the jet are racking up.

A $130 million plane could cost about $27

Mexico's President unveiled the design for the raffle tickets in his latest plan to sell the $130 million presidential jet.

Mexico’s President unveiled the design for the raffle tickets in his latest plan to sell the $130 million presidential jet.

CEPROPIE

So López Obrador has proposed another way to offload the plane.

He wants to raffle off the plane to his constituents, selling tickets for about $27 each. The goal is to sell six million tickets.

López Obrador unveiled a design for the raffle tickets on Tuesday.

The raffle ticket features a photo of the plane with the words “Gran Sorteo Especial,” or Great Special Raffle, while also commemorating the 158th anniversary of Battle of Puebla.

At the bottom of the ticket, the text reads, “It’s a cooperation for medical equipment and hospitals where poor people are treated.”

A telenovela starring the plane

The raffle is among a few plans regarding how to offload the plane, which also include making a TV soap about the plane’s case. He added that it was important to remember the jet wasn’t bought during his administration, but during a “pharaonic” government.

López Obrador said he would make a final decision on what to do with the plane on February 15th.

The airplane, named José María Morelos y Pavón, was purchased by the Mexican government in 2012 for $218.7 million under then-President Felipe Calderón.

The hefty price tag caused some controversy in Mexico, and it wasn’t put into use until 2016 , after former president Enrique Peña Nieto commissioned a study that determined the government would lose a lot of money on a sale of the aircraft.

Photos of the plane show wide leather seats, a double bed and a spacious bathroom with a shower.

Elected on a anti-corruption platform

López Obrador was elected in a landslide victory in 2018 on a platform of fighting corruption.

During his swearing-in, López Obrador reaffirmed his intentions to not live in the presidential palace, which he said had become a symbol of luxury and opulence in a country where nearly 42 percent of the people live in poverty, according to government figures.

He opted to live in his own house and turned the palace into a museum open to the public. He also said he would receive only 40% of his presidential salary.

CNN’s Andrea Diaz and Rafael Romo contributed to this report.



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