Air Force One Visit: A Behind the Scenes Look

On Monday, August 24, GSP welcomed Air Force One, Marine One, and President Donald Trump to the Upstate. Every president since George H.W. Bush has flown into GSP on Air Force One. Every Air Force One visit is a unique and memorable event that requires a great deal of coordination. 
GSP was notified on Thursday, August 20 of Air Force One’s planned stop at GSP.  From that moment, the GSP team worked tirelessly until the flights departed on Monday afternoon to ensure a smooth event. It was truly a team effort that involved many GSP departments. Here is a snapshot of what happened in the 72 hours leading up to Air Force One’s departure. 

  • Operations coordinated aircraft ops support arrangements with the military and FAA
  • Police coordinated all aspects of security with the Secret Service and local law enforcement agencies
  • Fire provided EMT and ARFF for the event, as well as house the presidential vehicles in advance of POTUS’ visit 
  • Facilities made special preparations on the airfield
  • IT set up communications for all involved and provided support for the White House communications team 
  • Communication worked with local media and the White House press corps
  • Cerulean GA served as the event command post and host the friend and family viewing event
  • Cerulean GA provided support, equipment, fueling and service for Air Force One and handled the aircraft for Secret Service personnel

The most challenging aspect of this event was supporting all the agencies’ needs while minimizing the impacts on normal GSP operations. Due to the financial impact of COVID-19, it was essential to maintain our cargo, GA and commercial service operations. The White House and Secret Service were very accommodating and worked to minimize the impacts.

After every event at an airport, the military liaisons complete a trip report documenting the operation. Both the Air Force and Marine officers remarked that GSP had a reputation for having an outstanding facility and support for presidential aircraft movements and were once again impressed with the GSP team and our professionalism. Many individuals from various departments went above and beyond to provide outstanding support for this event while ensuring quality operations for our daily customers. Congratulations to team GSP on pulling off this impressive feat.

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