First Lady’s Arrival Amps Up Airport Security
07/12/10 – 06:04 PM
Mary Scott Speigner – bio
Bay County, Fla:
The first lady’s arrival into Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport is no small task. It’s a team effort of security forces and personnel to provide a smooth landing.
Hours before her plane lands secret service, police, and bomb sniffing dogs filled the perimeter.
“A major concern is always the security and our police department works with the secret service and others to accommodate the First Lady,” said Airport Executive Director Randy Curtis.
The new 10,000 foot runway allows for almost any plane to land here, opening the door for Mrs. Obama’s plane.
“In this situation we do have a much longer runway and facilities where we can better accommodate special dignitaries,” said Curtis. In the past, some Presidents have landed at Tyndall Air force Base to accomadate Air Force One.
The First Lady doesn’t ride Air Force One like her husband. She rode a DC-9 for her trip to Panama City Beach. But her arrival didn’t have a major impact on commercial traffic. The airlines faced only minor delays.
“We actually got here 15 minutes early from Atlanta,” said one NWFBI passenger.
“Everything was on time. Everything went pretty well,” said another passenger.
Her arrival wasn’t open to the public, but city leaders gave her a warm welcome. Panama City Beach Mayor Gayle Oberst, Mayor Scott Clemons, Airport Board Chairman Gerry Clemons, and Airport Director Randy Curtis greeted her at the gate.
There were no protesters at the airport for her arrival.
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