BILLINGS – Billings Logan International Airport is ready for President Donald Trump’s arrival on Air Force One on Thursday. The arrival is scheduled for approximately 5:30 pm.
For security reasons, only regular users of the airport know when they need to be clear for Air Force One’s landing.
The procedures will be the same as when Vice President Mike Pence landed in Billings in July.
An advance team, the Secret Service, and White House staff have been working with airport management for about a week.
“The airspace around the airport will be closed prior to Air Force One landing,” said Shane Ketterling, assistant director of aviation & transit for Billings. “And there can’t be any movement at that time, so essentially everything shuts down.”
After the plane lands, there will be no view of President Trump from outside the airport.
“Secret Service has requested that we block off a lot of the fence line that people would be able to view it from,” said Ketterling. “They don’t want any direct line of sight between the public and the aircraft.”
The plan is for the President and his motorcade to leave the airport within 10 to 15 minutes of landing.
Ketterling said everything should be fine for passengers on commercial flights with minimal delays.
Police have closed off the two-block radius in downtown Billings surrounding the DoubleTree hotel, where President Trump will be staying for his rally.
Police Chief Rich St. John said Wednesday that the closures would start at 2 p.m. from Montana Avenue and First Avenue North between North 26th Street and North 28th Street. North 27th Street between Montana Avenue and First Avenue North will also be closed.
Chief St. John had a clear message for people leading up to Thursday night’s event: “Be patient. Listen to instructions, we will clear traffic as quickly as we can.”
Highway 3 will also be affected as soon as the motorcade takes off from the Billings airport to Metra Park. Chief St. John said all intersections along that route will be completely shut down for as long as 15 minutes.
“It’s going to be a little bit of a delay while the route is cleared and while that motorcade is moving,” said Chief St. John. “But they get from point A to point B pretty quickly and it’s not that big of a delay. ”
However, there will be a more permanent impact for those traveling to and from the Heights as the Bench Connector from Main Street to Lake Elmo will be closed for the entire duration of the President Trump’s event at the Metra.