Countdown to expected Obama touch down
ONE of the world's most powerful presidents and his equally impressive ride are expected to land at Amberley Air Force Base under the cover of darkness this weekend ahead of the G20 World Leaders Summit.
United States President Barack Obama will touch down in Air Force One during the early hours of Saturday morning after an 11-hour flight from Beijing, China, where he is currently attending the APEC Summit.
It is the first time Air Force One has landed at the base which is located south-west of Ipswich.
Airspace within a 50km radius of Amberley will be shut down to all aircraft as soon as Air Force One starts its final decent into Brisbane, although the plane will not be visible on any radar.
It is the second time this year the base has welcomed a VIP visitor.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge flew into the base earlier this year during their brief visit to Queensland.
Mr Obama is then expected to board one of three custom-built helicopters to be transported to his accommodation at the Marriott Hotel in Brisbane's CBD which has been in lockdown for the past week.
The helicopter Mr Obama is transported in is historically codenamed Marine One.
Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale, talking exclusively to APN Newsdesk from Canberra, said on Monday Amberley Air Force Base was the obvious choice for Air Force One to land.
"He is landing at the safest place in the country," he said.
"It is absolutely fantastic for the city.
"I understand he would have an extremely busy schedule, but I do hope he takes the time to say hello to some of the troops that are based there."
Cr Pisasale said although Ipswich residents would probably not see the leader of the free world, the invitation was there none-the-less.
"Some of the issues he has faced in America we have faced in Ipswich," he said.
"No matter who they are, where they come from, they will always be treated with respect and will always remain our friends."
Mr Obama is expected to deliver his landmark 'Brisbane Speech' on Saturday morning to young Queenslanders at the University of Queensland's St Lucia campus.
He is expected to fly out of Amberley Air Force Base late on Sunday evening once the G20 World Leaders Summit has concluded.
- APN NEWSDESK.