18 Jan 2020

Can't sell your presidential plane? Mexico mulls raffle instead

8:38 pm on 18 January 2020

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has floated the idea of raffling off his predecessor's $130 million jet after the government's efforts to sell the plane over the past year came to nothing.

Handout picture released by the Mexican Presidency showing Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador applauding during a press conference at the National Palace in Mexico City on December 27, 2019.

Photo: AFP

Mexico has yet to find a buyer for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, which the leftist Lopez Obrador has cast as a symbol of excess and corruption in previous governments in a country where around half the population lives in poverty.

Seeking to paint his predecessors as part of an out-of-touch elite, Lopez Obrador has made a point of taking commercial flights, and has auctioned off many government planes and helicopters.

But selling the luxury jet, acquired by former President Enrique Pena Nieto in 2012, has proven tough. Earlier this week Lopez Obrador said the aircraft would return to Mexico from California after potential sales to private buyers fell through.

One option under consideration is to offload the plane in a raffle, with the national lottery selling 6m tickets at about 500 pesos ($US26.70) each, Lopez Obrador said.

"The people will decide what's best," he told reporters at a regular news conference on Friday.

Mexico has already set out several options to dispose of the plane, including selling it to a group of businesses, renting it by the hour, or bartering it for medical equipment.

Lopez Obrador said one prospective buyer this week offered $125m. But Mexico could not sell it below a United Nations-backed valuation of $130m, he explained.

The spacious jet, which has been reconfigured to fly only 80 people, has a large "presidential suite" and a private bath.

- Reuters