Mexico has sold 25% of the presidential plane raffle tickets

López Obrador has refused to step foot into the Boeing Dreamliner since he took office

Mexico has sold 25% of the presidential plane raffle tickets
Former President Felipe Calderón purchased the luxurious jet - Photo: Yadin Xolalpa/EL UNIVERSAL
English 27/07/2020 16:03 Mexico City Pedro Villa y Caña/EL UNIVERSAL, AP Actualizada 16:13
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Although Mexico’s efforts to sell Mexico’s presidential jet appear to be going well, with two potential buyers interested in the luxurious jet, the simultaneous effort to sell lottery tickets depicting the presidential plane is struggling.

Today, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said that only about a quarter of the six million tickets have been sold, in part because ticket sellers have been unable to hit the streets because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Mexican President urged Mexicans to purchase more raffle tickets.

The economic effects of the partial lockdown have also made Mexicans less willing to pay USD 22.50 for a raffle ticket, roughly a week’s wages for the lowest-paid workers.

With the September 15 lottery drawing less than two months away, President López Obrador is facing the possibility the lottery might lose money, rather than achieving its stated goal of collecting funds to buy medical equipment.

With only about 1.5 million tickets sold, the lottery currently is covering only about 38% of the guaranteed prize money of USD 90 million. Other administrative costs could put the government deeper into the hole. The prize money will be divided into 20 equal parts.

The president urged businessmen to buy blocks of tickets and hand them out to their employees or at schools, and unions to hand them out to their members.

“There is little time left until September 15, and we have to sell those tickets,” López Obrador said, as he stood in front of the jet at a hangar at Mexico City’s international airport. The drawing date coincides with Mexico’s Independence day.

The jet, like the lottery, is full of symbolism for López Obrador, who has refused to step foot into the Boeing Dreamliner since he took office in December 2018. He says the jet represents the opulence of past administrations that bought and used the plane. The plane’s interior includes an elegant office, kingsize bed, shower, and treadmill.

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President López Obrador prefers to travel by road or in commercial flights, which he did when he visited the United States in early July to meet with U.S. President Donald Trump.

Originally, he vowed to raffle off the plane, which drew jokes about where the winner would park the jet. The lottery, whose tickets bear a picture of the plane but which carry no promise of ownership of it, was an afterthought aimed at capitalizing on its notoriety.

The plane itself will be sold outright, and López Obrador said there are now two bidders, one of whom is offering a mix of cash and medical equipment for the jet. That buyer has already put down a USD 1 million deposit and signed an initial contract, but the president said that last week another all-cash offer has emerged.

The Mexican government estimates the plane is worth USD 120 million; it has not said who the potential buyers are. It was purchased in 2012 for about USD 200 million. Experts consider it too expensive to reconfigure the plane to seat the usual 300 passengers a commercial version would carry.

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Mexico’s controversial presidential plane

Last week, Mexico’s presidential plane, a Boeing 787 Dreamliner, arrived at the Mexico City airport; however, the airplane is still up for sale.

Sources confirmed the return of the airplane and said President Andrés Manuel López Obrador may hold a news conference at the hangar where authorities will keep the airplane.

On June 13, Jorge Mendoza Sánchez, the director of the National Bank of Public Works and Services (Banobras), said there was an offer to sell the Boeing 787 Dreamliner for USD 120 million in cash and medical equipment.
 
The Banobras director said he couldn’t provide more details for confidentiality reasons but said the purchase process continues. 
 
Mendoza Sánchez said: “Regarding the presidential airplane, we received an offer in April. The process is ongoing. We received an offer of USD 120 million, which is around MXN 2,697 million. The offer includes cash and medical equipment, but due to confidentiality reasons, we can’t provide more details during this stage of the process, but be sure that we will reveal it when it is possible.”

When President Andrés Manuel López Obrador took office in December 2018, he announced the airplane would be put up for sale and asked United Nations for help to find a buyer. 
 
President López Obrador later came up with the idea to raffle the airplane but latter announced the government would raffle the Boeing 787 Dreamliner’s price and not the place itself.

The Mexican President previously said 100 winners would get USD 1 million each, rather than the plane itself.

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