Q: How much did President Barack Obama’s Christmas vacation to Hawaii cost? I understand that Air Force One costs $180,000 an hour to fly. — Sherrill Lang, Tyrone
A: The Obamas’ 20-day Hawaii vacation — from Dec. 17 to Jan. 6 — cost somewhere between $4 million and $7 million, according to published reports. The largest expense is the use of Air Force One, which costs $179,750 an hour to operate, according to a Congressional Research Service report published in May. The Hawaii Reporter — an online news journal — reported in November that a one-way trip from Washington to Hawaii takes nine hours, which comes to a cost of $1.6 million, or $3.2 million for a round trip for Air Force One. The president took two round trips from Washington to Hawaii on this vacation, flying back for last-minute negotiations during the fiscal cliff crisis before returning to Hawaii on New Year’s Day. The Hawaii Reporter reported the Obamas stay in a beachfront home in Kailua on Oahu but pay for the cost with personal money. Additional costs include: operating a U.S. Air Force C-17 aircraft that “transports presidential limos, helicopters and other support equipment”; renting homes and hotel rooms at the Moana Surfrider, a Westin Resort & Spa, for White House staff and security; overtime for local police; security upgrades to some homes, including the installation of bulletproof windows and additional phone lines; and fuel and rental car costs. The Obamas began taking Hawaii vacations in 2008.
Andy Johnston wrote this column. Do you have a question about the news? We’ll try to get the answer. Call 404-222-2002 or email email@example.com (include name, phone and city).