What has been expected for a while has become official.
The US Air Force has chosen the Boeing 747-8i to replace the existing 747 aircraft that serve as Air Force 1 when flying the President on his appointed rounds. This comes just in time as Boeing’s 747-8i backlog is diminishing as the final few aircraft are completed.
Know to the military as the VC-25, the current pair of Aircraft that serve as Air Force 1 have been in service for approximately 25 years. The new planes would enter service in 2017-18 and would start flying the President in 2023 after additional years of testing and retrofit to meet military standards and the installation of the secret systems that would be required.
This will most likely also mean the end of the line for the 747-8i and perhaps the 747 platform in general since Boeing is ramping up their facilities for the 777x and has no plans for a successor 747 model. There are only a handful of deliveries left for the 747 and no new orders are on the horizon.
At one point, Boeing was thought to have offered Lufthansa a bargain-basement price to purchase additional 747-8i aircraft to sustain the production line. However nothing came of those negotiations.
The story first broke via Reuters earlier this afternoon.