Claim: Mr Kofi Tonto, a member of the NPP communications team, claimed that it costs a million dollars per hour anytime the President of the USA flies with Air Force One.
Verdict: This is false. According to credible data found by DUBAWA and the most recent data from The WarZone, it costs around $177,843 per hour to operate Air Force One.
Ghanaians will go to the polls in December 2024. Before that, major political parties must elect their presidential and parliamentary candidates to represent them.
The opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) elected its presidential and parliamentary candidates who would represent the party in the 2024 general election on May 13, 2023. However, the incumbent party, the New Patriotic Party (NPP), has yet to elect its candidates. With the intra-party elections pending, several popular members have supported their favourite candidate.
Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, Alan Kyeremanteng, and Kennedy Agyapong are among those who are considered favourites to win the flag bearer race. There have been allegations that Dr Bawumia, the vice president, will abuse incumbency by misappropriating government funds to win the race, an allegation some supporters of the Vice President have been quick to debunk.
In championing the cause of Dr Bawumia, Mr Kofi Tonto, a communicator for the NPP, said running an office either as president or vice president in a democracy comes at a huge cost. That notwithstanding, Dr Bawumia has been meticulous in his use of public finance.
Explaining how costly it is to run the office, Mr Tonto claimed that it costs a million dollars per hour when the President of the United States uses Air Force One.
“Even in advanced countries, President Biden is seeking re-election. As I speak to you, President Biden is travelling… traversing the entire United States. He is actually on Air Force One. Anytime the Air Force One moves, every hour is one million dollars. It is at the cost of the state,” he said.
Find the claim from 20:00 to 20:55, as posted on the Tv3 Facebook page on June 20, 2023.
On the contrary, he said, the sitting vice president must be applauded for using a bus on his campaign tour instead of the usual “expensive security protocols.”
Considering the numerous claims by known politicians during the elections to win over the masses to their respective sides, DUBAWA decided to investigate his statement.
According to the Presidential Airlift Group at the White House, Air Force One provides air transport for the president of the United States. The presidential air fleet consists of two Boeing 747-200 Bs. Their tail numbers are 28000 and 29000, with Air Force designation VC-25. The radio call sign “Air Force One” is assigned to any aircraft with the president aboard.
Much less has been written about the cost of operating the Air Force One. However, in a 2013 report, TIME indicated that the cost per flight hour to operate Air Force One was $161,591. This was part of the cost per flight hour for dozens of aircraft operated by the US Air Force.
Also, according to information obtained by Judicial Watch through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), the cost per flying hour for Air Force One was $206, 337.00. Find other reports of the same figures here and here.
The most recent data from a military publication, The War Zone, indicates that it costs the US Air Force $ 177,843 per hour to operate its two VC-25A Air Force One aircraft in Fiscal Year 2021. This was a beatdown on the price point to fly the specialised presidential jet, pegged at $206,337 as of 2015.
“This [Fiscal Year 2021] rate includes the cost for fuel, flight consumables, and aircraft and engine overhaul,” Ann Stefanek, an Air Force spokesperson, was quoted to have said.
The claim that flying Air Force One costs $1 million per hour is false.