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‘Where would I park it?’ Mexico won’t really raffle off huge presidential jet

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said a symbolic raffle will award total prize money of 100 million dollars instead.

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The Mexican presidential plane at Benito Juarez International Airport in Mexico City (Mexican Presidential press office via AP)

The Mexican presidential plane at Benito Juarez International Airport in Mexico City (Mexican Presidential press office via AP)

The Mexican presidential plane at Benito Juarez International Airport in Mexico City (Mexican Presidential press office via AP)

Mexicans will no longer have to worry about where to park a Boeing Dreamliner when the government raffles off the luxurious presidential jet: the air force will keep it.

Nobody will win the actual 130 million (£100 million) Boeing 787 plane in the lottery-style raffle to be held in coming months.

Among the many desperate attempts to get rid of the ridiculously expensive plane, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador had toyed with the idea of actually awarding the plane to the winner, along with a year’s paid maintenance and parking.

But Mr Lopez Obrador had worried that would cause problems for the winner, both because of the greed it could unleash among friends, relatives and acquaintances, and because the idea had been lampooned on social media.

We did not want to award a prize that would be a problem. You know, the memes, ‘Where would I park it?'President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador

People have posted pictures of shacks or taco stands with an airliner parked outside.

So the president has announced that the raffle will actually be symbolic, awarding total prize money of 100 million dollars (£77 million), which lottery tickets state is “equivalent to the value of the presidential jet”.

One hundred winners will divide equal shares of the 100 million dollar pot.

“We did not want to award a prize that would be a problem,” Mr Lopez Obrador said.

“You know, the memes, ‘Where would I park it?’”

Instead, he said, a cash prize winner would be free to use some of their winnings to rent the plane for a few trips, at the current hourly operating price of about 13,500 dollars (£10,400) per hour.

The government hopes to sell six million tickets at about 25 dollars (£19) apiece, raising 150 million dollars (£116 million).

The remaining money will pay to keep the plane in flight condition while Mr Lopez Obrador tries to sell or rent it.

Any net proceeds would go to buy medical equipment.

Mr Lopez Obrador flies tourist class on commercial flights and views the jet, bought for more than 200 million dollars (£154 million) by his predecessor, as wasteful.

The plane failed to find a buyer after a year on sale at a US airstrip, where it piled up about 1.5 million dollars (£1.1 million) in maintenance costs.

The jet is expensive to run and is configured to carry only 80 people, with a full presidential suite with a bedroom and private bath.

Experts say it would be too expensive to reconfigure back into a commercial airliner that normally carries as many as 300 passengers.

Previously, Mr Lopez Obrador had suggested bartering the plane in exchange for US medical equipment or selling it in shares to a group of businessmen for executive incentive programmes.

He has also offered to rent it out by the hour, in the hope of paying off the remainder of the outstanding loans on the plane.

PA