At the end of January the US Air Force announced that it was going with Boeing’s 747-8 aircraft to replace the two VC-25s (specially configured Boeing 747-200Bs) that currently operate Air Force one. It shouldn’t come as a huge surprise since the Air Force said they wanted four engines to provide an extra margin of flight safety, leaving only the A380 as a potential candidate. No formal competition was even held.
“The Boeing 747-8 is the only aircraft manufactured in the United States (that) when fully missionized meets the necessary capabilities established to execute the presidential support mission,” said Air Force Secretary Deborah James in a statement.
Interestingly enough, this might mean the end of the 747 program. Boeing received no 747 orders in all of 2014 and with the Air Force order in the books, they may now opt to shut down the entire program.