Mexico can accept medical kit in barter for presidential jet

(Reuters) – The Mexican government is considering a $ 120 million offer for a luxurious presidential plane after a potential unidentified buyer offered to pay part in cash and part in medical equipment, a government official said Monday.

FILE PHOTO: Boeing 787-8 Presidential Dreamliner of the Mexican Air Force is pictured in a hangar before being put up for sale by the new President of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, at the Benito Juárez International Airport in Mexico City , Mexico, December 3, 2018. REUTERS / Edgard Garrido / File Photo

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has made the sale of his predecessor’s Boeing 787 Dreamliner a cornerstone of his campaign for a more frugal government.

Last week, he traveled economy class on a commercial airline to a summit with the President of the United States, Donald Trump.

Jorge Mendoza, who runs a state development bank involved in the sale, said at a press conference that the president had ordered him not to unload the plane or other planes and helicopters for sale for less than their value.

“The offer is in cash and is also part of the medical team,” Mendoza said, adding that he was still unable to provide further details or identify the buyer for reasons of confidentiality.

Like many nations, Mexico has been struggling to obtain medical supplies, including oxygen, ventilators, and masks during the coronavirus pandemic. The governments of the United States and China have helped with the equipment.

The sale of the plane, acquired by former President Enrique Peña Nieto in 2012 and equipped with marble-lined bathrooms, has been difficult.

In January López Obrador said a potential buyer offered $ 125 million. But Mexico was unable to sell it below a United Nations-backed valuation of $ 130 million, he explained then.

It was not immediately clear why Mexico was now considering a lower offer, although the plane may have decreased in value during storage.

The government separately launched a raffle aimed at increasing the value of the plane in exchange for cash prizes.

Report by Frank Jack Daniel; Edited by Marguerita Choy

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