Government Bytes

Blog 

Obama's Canceled Asia Trip Saves Taxpayers $8.4 Million

by Michael Tasselmyer / /

In the wake of the government's shutdown, the White House announced on Thursday that President Obama would no longer be traveling to Asia this week.

The trip, which was scheduled to begin today and last through October 12, would have taken the President to two regional conferences (the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit and the East Asia Summit) and four different countries, including Indonesia, Brunei, Malaysia, and the Phillippines. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney cited "the difficulty in moving forward with foreign travel in the face of a shutdown" as the primary reason for cancelling the trip.

The full extent of what that trip may have cost U.S. taxpayers remains unknown. However, NTUF was able to compile a partial estimate consisting of the cost to fly Air Force One from Washington, D.C. to the countries President Obama had planned to visit.

Flight Time (hours)
Washington, D.C. to Jakarta, Indonesia 20.83
Jakarta, Indonesia to Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei 2.38
Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 2.35
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to Manila, Phillippines 3.57
Manila, Phillippines to Washington, D.C. 17.65
   
Total Flight Time: 46.78
Cost Per Flight Hour: $179,750
Total Cost:  $8,408,705

Flight times were estimated via travelmath.com. The $179,750 cost per flight hour reflects the latest figure given to the Congressional Research Service (CRS) by the U.S. Air Force.

It should be noted that these estimates do not take into account any refueling stops, additional aircraft support, cargo transport, hotel and lodging costs, or any of the other myriad security and logistical measures taken anytime a President travels abroad. Many of these costs are unknown but are estimated to amount to tens of millions of dollars, in some instances.

For more on what it takes to move the President overseas, as well as the general lack of transparency when it comes to those costs, check out NTUF's latest study on Presidential Travel, "Up In The Air".