Mexico won't really raffle off huge presidential jet

MEXICO CITY — 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.

In fact, nobody will win the actual $130 million Boeing 787 plane in the lottery-style raffle to be held in the coming months.

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador announced Friday that a symbolic raffle will actually award total prize money of $100 million, which lottery tickets state is "equivalent to the value of the presidential jet."

Twenty winners will divide equal shares of the $100 million pot.

The government hopes to sell 6 million tickets at about $25 a piece, raising $150 million. The remaining money will pay to keep the airplane in flight condition while López Obrador tries to sell or rent it. Any net proceeds would go to buy medical equipment.

López Obrador flies tourist class on commercial flights and views the jet, bought for more than $200 million by his predecessor, as wasteful.

The plane failed to find a buyer after a year on sale at a U.S. airstrip, where it piled up about $1.5 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, López Obrador had suggested bartering the plane in exchange for U.S. medical equipment or selling it in shares to a group of businessmen for executive incentive programs. He has also offered to rent it out by the hour, in hopes of paying off the remainder of outstanding loans on the plane.