Air Force One Arrives in Manila on April 28

US President Barack Obama is scheduled to arrive in Manila aboard Air Force One on Monday, April 28. The upcoming overnight trip was confirmed by Jose Cuisia, Philippine Ambassador to the United States.

air force one manila philippines
Image Source: Wikimedia
Although Air Force One is technically the official air traffic control call sign for any United States Air Force aircraft carrying the President of the United States, most people associate the term with the US Air Force aircraft that was specifically designed and built for the purpose of transporting the US President. It is a prominent symbol of the American Presidency and its power. 

The current aircraft serving in this role is the VC-25. The aircraft was designed to serve as a "flying White House" in the event of an attack on the United States. The VC-25 is equipped with both secure and unsecure telephone and computer communication systems, which enable the President to perform duties while in the air. The aircraft remains heavily guarded at all times especially when abroad. Two models of this aircraft type exist and the secondary aircraft also travels with the President on foreign trips standing by in the event that the primary Air Force One should become disabled.

air force one manila
Image Source: The Daily Mirror
During his brief visit to the Philippine capital, Obama will meet with President Aquino and depart the Philippines on April 29. The US President will not be accompanied by his wife, US First Lady Michelle Obama. 

According to Cabinet Secretary Jose Alemendras, Obama and Aquino are expected to discuss a range of topics including trade, defence issues, and the membership of the Philippines in the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The two leaders will also discuss a proposed agreement that would see an increased rotational presence of US troops and military equipment in the Philippines. 

In a statement released by the White House, it was mentioned that Obama's upcoming meeting with Aquino will build on the existing ties between the two nations. "The meeting will highlight the economic ties and security cooperation between the two countries, including through the modernization of defense alliance, efforts to expand economic ties and spark economic growth through the Partnership for Growth, and through our deep and enduring people-to-people ties."

Obama was originally scheduled to visit the Philippines and other Asian countries last October. However, the trip had to be cancelled due to the temporary shut down of the US government, triggered by the failure of US Congress to pass the budget for the fiscal year. 

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