Military Pegs Hourly Air Force One Cost at $181G, as Obama Sets Travel Record

Military Pegs Hourly Air Force One Cost at $181G, as Obama Sets Travel

to run Air
Force One
every hour.

The U.S. military has provided an updated estimate on
that cost, first published by a taxpayer watchdog group and confirmed by, and the number is staggering — $181,757 per hour. That’s the
price tag for shuttling around President Obama, who, as it turns out, has spent
more days abroad in his first two years than any other president.

Estimates over the years based on government reports and
independent number-crunching have always reflected a steep cost for
presidential travel, but the figure provided by the 89th Airlift Wing appears
to be far higher than any previously reported. It was first published in a
report this week on presidential travel by the National Taxpayers Union

“It’s astonishing. It’s far higher than any other
… figure that’s been reported on. It’s very surprising, and of course it’s
just a fraction of the overall cost involved with presidential travel,”
said policy analyst Demian Brady, who wrote the study.

Master Sgt. Jeff Capenos, with the 89th Airlift Wing,
told the figure reflects operating costs ranging from fuel to
engine and aircraft maintenance. Asked why other public estimates, which
typically did not exceed $100,000, were so much lower, he said: “They were
probably inaccurate.”

The National Taxpayers Union referred to the publication
of the statistic as a “major coup for public disclosure.” Brady
said the high price tag, as compared with prior estimates, could be attributed
not just to inflation, but a better and more specific accounting of the
associated costs, as well as upgrades made to the aircraft. He urged the
administration to be even more forthcoming with presidential travel

Brady also used his report in part to tackle rumors about
the cost of Obama’s 10-day post-election tour through Asia. One Indian
newspaper report quoted an anonymous local official claiming it would cost U.S.
taxpayers $200 million every day, a figure Brady dismissed as “wildly
exaggerated.” The Obama administration also shot down that figure, without
detailing the actual cost.

But the trip to India, Indonesia, South
and Japan was by no means cheap. While a total by-the-day figure may
be impossible to come by, Brady estimated that the 48 hours of flight time
logged on the trip would cost at least $8.7 million for Air Force One alone.
The president’s latest visit to Lisbon, Portugal, for a NATO conference would
add another $2.7 million, he figured.

That Lisbon trip also set a record for Obama. By Brady’s
accounting, Obama has now logged 55 days overseas, surpassing former President
George H.W. Bush’s record of 54 days during his first two years. In total,
Obama has visited 26 countries — some of them more than once — over the
course of 15 trips.

Having been in office only two years, Obama has not come
anywhere close to the overall record for presidential travel. That was set by
former President Bill
over the course of his two terms in office. Clinton logged 233 days
abroad over the course of 55 trips. Former President

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