'It's a comfy plane': Mexico's Amlo seeks buyer for presidential jet

Leftist president-elect has promised to travel on commercial flights in push to rule with frugality and restraint

In less than three weeks he will be sworn in as president of the world’s sixth largest democracy.

First, however, Andrés Manuel López Obrador has an aircraft to shift.

“It’s not just an efficient, modern plane – it’s a comfy plane, with a bedroom, a restaurant, with lots of space,” Mexico’s incoming leader said of the Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner for which he is seeking a buyer.

Selling Mexico’s presidential jet was part of a package of populist pledges that López Obrador – or Amlo, as he is best known – made ahead of his landslide election victory in July.

In line with his promise to rule with frugality and restraint, the 64-year-old leftist has promised to travel on commercial flights rather than a luxury aircraft for which he said Mexico had paid up to 8bn pesos ($392m) and cost 500m pesos a year to maintain.

On Friday, Amlo, who will be sworn in on 1 December, issued a global call out to potential purchasers in “every corner of the world”.

“I’d like to take advantage of this moment to send a message … to anyone who would like to buy the presidential plane,” he told reporters outside his Mexico City headquarters.

“If you want to buy it, I’ll deliver it personally. We’ll have a ceremony and you’ll be traveling in a very important plane. It’s not just about the price … it’s about the fame!”

Amlo’s other populist undertakings include opening the Los Pinos presidential palace to the public, slashing his own salary and those of other top government officials, getting rid of presidential bodyguards, and holding daily 7am press conferences where he will unveil details of what he calls his historic “transformation” of the country. “We are going to begin this government with very profound changes,” he told Friday’s press conference.

Amlo said proceeds from the auction of the presidential Boeing – commissioned in 2012 by former president Felipe Calderón – would be used “to benefit our people” and claimed the winner would be walking away with a steal. “It’s not just any old thing.”


Tom Phillips in Mexico City

The GuardianTramp

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