Donald Trump’s New Jet Arrives in New York: Is it a Campaign Plane?
Trump lands at LGA for the first time. (Video by Matt Molnar)
The 757 (registered N757AF) is substantially larger than the 727 Trump jet. In its life as an airliner, the 757 would have room for up to 230 passengers in an all-economy configuration, about 80 more than the 727. Of course, Trump, best known for his over-the-top, gold-plated lifestyle, probably had it decked out with an entirely new luxury interior with far fewer seats than that. Or did he?
Recent history has shown the 757 to be the standard issue campaign jet for major Presidential candidates. The two most recent Presidents, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, both flew 757s to victory in 2000 and 2008. John Kerry also darted across the country on a 757 during his 2004 run and Al Gore, who in 2000 ran for President while still in the Vice President’s office, used the US Air Force variant of the 757–the C-32–to move from one campaign stop to the next. (John McCain used a Boeing 737 while Bill Clinton got around on a 727, if you’re keeping score at home).
Aircraft used for national campaigns are usually divided into a business class-style area for the candidate and his staff up front, and a larger but more cramped and airliner-like space for the media following him or her in the back. The 757 is the perfect fit for this mission, with enough room for everyone and enough range to reach any place in the U.S. nonstop.
While we do know that the plane was undergoing maintenance at a facility in Georgia for the past few months, there has not been any public revelation of the plane’s interior improvements. This particular aircraft was formerly owned by fellow billionaire Paul Allen, the Microsoft co-founder and aviation buff extraordinaire. It already had a VIP interior, though it is likely that Trump would have had it gutted and customized to his specs no matter how nice it might have been.
When asked by the Palm Beach Post in February if the new plane might be used for a campaign, Trump said, “It’s a big plane. We’ll see what happens.” Playing to his neighbors, Trump also said the 757 is “one of the quietest planes there is. I did that for the people of Palm Beach.” Perhaps it’s a bit quieter than the ancient 727, but by no means is a 757 quiet.
The plane had a previous life as an airliner, delivered in 1991 to Denmark-based Sterling Airlines. Later it flew for the now-defunct TAESA in Mexico before Allen bought it in 1995.
The jet’s arrival comes on a day where Trump told local Fox’s Good Day New York he might still run for President as an Independent candidate if the Republicans fail to produce a strong candidate and two days after a high profile appearance in New York with fellow media-spectacle-lover Sarah Palin.
Trump’s signature black, red and gold livery adorns the new plane, though the “T” painted on the tail is styled differently than the one found on the 727.