One might assume that a luxury jet, particularly one with a large “presidential suite” and private bath facilities, wouldn’t be a hard sell on the open market. That assumption, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador can confirm, would be a faulty one. The leftist Mexican leader has found that the custom fitted Boeing 787 Dreamliner left behind by his predecessor in the job, former president Enrique Pena Nieto, has actually been a lot harder to unload that he might have first imagined.
As of late last week, according to reports, Lopez Obrador officially threw out the idea of raffling off his predecessor’s $130 million luxury jet since a year of efforts at selling it have led nowhere.
The luxurious jet was cast as a symbol of governmental elite excess during his campaign for the highest office in Mexico, a country where roughly half of the population subsists in poverty. For his own travel Lopez Obrador has made a point of taking commercial flights, and has auctioned off many government planes and helicopters thus far as part of his commitment to reasonable spending.
But the jet has stuck around, resistant to finding a buyer looking for its custom attributes, and as of returning from a California trip where a sales pitch to another round of potential buyers fell through, Lopez Obrador seemed ready to start thinking outside of the box for new ways to dispose of the jet first purchased in 2012.
According to Lopez Obrador, one option on the table is now offloading the plane via a national raffle, with the federal lottery selling 6 million tickets at about 500 pesos ($26.70) each.
That plan, however, seemed to take Transport Minister Javier Jimenez Espriu by surprise when he was asked about it by local media. It also seems that perhaps this solution is a bit too out of the box for the transport minister. When asked directly if this was a feasible plan, Jimenez Espriu was far from encouraging.
“No, I don’t think so,” Jimenez Espriu said in a video published on social media by newspaper Reforma. “I think there are other more immediate [options].”
He went on to say that “the people will decide what’s best.”
Thus far Mexico has tried to move the plane by selling it to a group of businesses, renting it by the hour or bartering it for medical equipment. None of those arrangements ended up working out. According to Mexico’s president, one prospective buyer last week offered $125 million, but it was an offer Mexico cannot accept because it falls below a United Nations-backed valuation of $130 million.
And if sales continue to stall, and a raffle is too out of the box … well, there is always jet sharing. Formerly known as JetSmarter, the firm now known as XO has set a goal of being the Uber of private air travel — and once a company is already booking the tier of customers looking for private jet service, who knows? The firm might just have a whole tranche of customers who might actually be looking for a private jet with a presidential suite.
Sure, it’s a bit unlikely, but after a year of failing to find a buyer on the market and given that a raffle is apparently on the table — handing over a luxury jet for ridesharing isn’t even the most unlikely possible outcome of this story.