Essex airport’s profile hits new heights as US president arrives in UK
PUBLISHED: 15:32 03 June 2019 | UPDATED: 15:32 03 June 2019
Stansted airport said it had to handle “a unique set of challenges” to ensure that the arrival of the American president and first lady ran smoothly as Air Force One touched down at the start of a state visit on Monday, June 3.
Foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt was joined by airport boss Steve Griffiths to greet the couple at the end of a busy week at Stansted, which also had to hqandle additional flights for fans attending European football finals in Baku and Madrid.
The operation to prepare for their arrival involved a collaboration between organisations including Harrods Aviation, a private aviation facility which handled Airforce One, police, air traffic control, UK Border Force, the government, US Embassy and the White House.
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Mr Griffiths, said: "London Stansted is used to handling high-profile occasions, but the arrival of Air Force One brings its own unique set of challenges. This is a huge team effort, and our priority is to ensure it goes as smoothly as possible while keeping any disruption to our airlines and passengers to a minimum.
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"It was a pleasure to welcome the president and his family to Stansted, and to have the opportunity to showcase the airport on the world stage. I'm very proud of the teams who have worked so hard to make this possible, on top of the challenges of helping thousands of football fans get to their matches across Europe."
The official welcoming party also included Her Majesty's Lord Lieutenant of Essex Mrs Jennifer Tolhurst and US ambassador to Britain, Woody Johnson.
Air Force One was accompanied by a range of support aircraft, including a back-up aircraft, three chinook support helicopters, two Sea King helicopters, as well as several additional vehicles on the ground.
Around 50 journalists and photographers from across the world watched the president and first lady arrive, before heading into central London on the presidential helicopter, Marine One.
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