Phoenix and Sky Harbor are ready for Air Force One??? Well this story would have you believe that and for the most part it's somewhat true but I'll tell you more.
Tuesday May 28th, 2008, I knew coming off the long holiday weekend that President Bush was coming through Phoenix on a campaign for McCane trip. Now I'm not on the political bandwagon because I write this because there is an aviation side that the news will not report or at least make it sound better than it was. I went out to the airport on my lunch hour for the arrival of Air Force One and I work right under the flight path on final approach into Sky Harbor. Now my office is less than a 3/4 of a mile from the fence to the airport and when I left I saw how much was closed because of his arrival. # of the cardinal directions out of my office parking lot were closed or jammed heavily due to the rerouting of traffic and security. Now it doesn't bother me especially with the current state of the economy and the like but I'm sure it caught many folks off guard. Airline wise I was looking at how the aircraft were responding to the pending arrival of AF1 and it seemed like to me there was some disruption or delaying of flights in and out. I observed a Delta flight that was starting to taxi out of it's gate area and it stopped at the outer taxiway and got held in position. (AF1 is in range visually about 8 miles out and yet to turn final) All of the aircraft on the North side were basically held in position because activity on this side of the airport was none existant. Now this is normal and I have been on airplanes as a flight attendant when AF1 is in the area and we pick up a delay here and there (do you remember the haircut delays) I was enroute to LAX for that one. Fighter jets covering the skys if you knew where to look were apparent and a lot of people were at the viewing area to observe this aircrafts arrival. By the time he was in range and touched down, rolled out and parked the airport basically went back to the way it was. Now passengers in the terminals may have not known he (POTUS-Pres. of the U.S.) was coming through but a few delays I'm sure were passed on to the passengers on the planes that had already left the gate. The departure of POTUS was just the reverse and more roads and highways were affected because they don't say which way they will be coming from.
Well my recommendation to the traveling passengers is just know where POTUS is traveling to and from and if it will effect your trip. Not a whole lot you can do about this one but if your aware of his presence (POTUS) when you pick up some delays due to his arrival or departure at least it won't be a suprise.
I posted the story from KTAR to give everyone who doesn't live in Phoenix an idea what the press tells us and how good or bad this was.
Keep The Blue Side Up!!!
May 28th, 2008 @ 9:14am
by Bob McClay/KTAR
When the president comes to visit, he arrives in one of the world's most famous planes, and Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport workers have to be on their toes, making sure the president is safe and keeping all regular flights on time.
Air Force One lands at a secure area near the executive terminal at Sky Harbor. There are police sharpshooters on nearby buildings and helicopters hovering nearby. Reporters and others who will be near the plane must go through tight security.
Sky Harbor's Julie Rodriguez says the airport is getting used to the routine.
``We've had the president come to Phoenix several times in the last few years. So we've done this many times. It pretty much works the same way every time. Security is very high, coordination is at an all-time high. There are many meetings and much planning, and it always goes very smoothly."
Rodriguez adds, ``Sky Harbor Operations and Phoenix police work closely with the Secret Service and the White House to make sure everything goes smoothly, to make sure security is at its highest."
She says Air Force One causes little disruption in normal commercial air traffic and most people who are at the airport don't even know Air Force One is there.
``The average traveler really doesn't notice Air Force One unless they actually see it flying in," Rodriguez says. ``And it is very impressive flying in. But it doesn't affect flights, it doesn't delay flights. No one in the terminals notices a difference."