Vietnam prepares for Air Force One and Obama's 800-strong entourage

By Doan Loan   May 18, 2016 | 02:44 am PT
Vietnam prepares for Air Force One and Obama's 800-strong entourage
The Boeing C-17 carries equipments set to assist the arrival of the U.S. president. Photo by VnExpress
A delegation of around 800 people transported by specialized aircraft will escort U.S. President Obama during his visit to Vietnam from May 23 to 25, according to a VnExpress source.

Besides Air Force One carying President Barack Obama and another specialized aircraft carrying Secretary of State John Kerry, there will be two or three other planes carrying the entourage scheduled to land at different times at Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi on the morning of May 23.

Vietnam’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has been preparing for the arrival of Air Force One. A runway will be dedicated to the arrival of the delegation, five minutes before landing. Security measures around the president's plane will also be in place. Commercial flights will be delayed and asked to circle the airport while Air Force One is landing.

Other airports capable of receiving the president's plane, including Da Nang, have also been put on standby. The U.S. has already conducted security checks at these airports to prepare for the arrival of Air Force One.

Under Vietnam's aviation industry regulations, air traffic controllers who serve during such occasions are required to have top professional qualifications and experience in handling unforeseen circumstances, with at least three year of continuous experience.

Earlier this week, some Boeing C-17 Globemaster III heavy military transport aircraft landed at Noi Bai carrying equipment to assist the arrival of the U.S. president. The president's private car and Marine One are expected to arrive by the end of the week.

"The Vietnam Aviation Authority and the U.S. are coordinating to ensure the flight's safety. During the special reception for the U.S. President, civil aviation will be affected, but we strive to keep the disturbance to a minimum," said a representative from the CAA.

According to Vietnam's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, President Obama will visit Vietnam from May 23 to 25. He is expected to meet for talks with local leaders to discuss cooperation in various fields, including the economy, security, and regional and international issues. Obama will also deliver a speech on the Vietnam – U.S. relationship in Hanoi.

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