KIEV Dec 7 The Ukrainian producer of the
world's largest aircraft has offered to build a plane for Donald
Trump after the U.S. president-elect said an order with Boeing
Co for a new Air Force One should be scrapped.
"@realDonaldTrump May be it is better to consider #Antonov
aircraft as Air Force One?," Ukrainian state-owned firm Antonov
tweeted directly to Trump on Wednesday.
There was no immediate response from the future president,
who is known for his unpredictable tweets
On Tuesday, Trump took to Twitter to criticise alleged
escalating costs for a new Air Force One from Boeing, which has
built planes for U.S. presidents since 1943.
"Costs are out of control, more than $4 billion. Cancel
order!," he wrote.
Antonov's offer appeared to have been in jest, but new
orders from the United States or elsewhere would provide a
welcome boost to its fortunes.
The company, one of the Soviet Union's top aircraft
producers, has produced only around twenty planes since Ukraine
gained independence in 1991.
It is most famous for building the world's biggest aircraft:
the Antonov-225 Mriya (Dream) cargo plane, which was designed as
part of the Soviet space programme. The only one completed is
still in use and can carry up to 250 tonnes over distances of up
to 4,000 km (2,485 miles).
Work to manufacture a second plane was started in 1988 and
never completed, but Antonov has now found a potential investor
in the Aerospace Industry Corporation of China (AICC).
(Reporting by Pavel Polityuk; Writing by Alessandra Prentice;
Editing by Tom Heneghan)