United States president Donald Trump set to touch down at Stansted Airport for the third time
American president Donald Trump is to fly into Stansted Airport on Monday night (December 2) under cover of darkness.
The controversial 73-year-old is coming to the UK for a NATO summit in Watford on Wednesday – as impeachment hearings continue into allegations that he pressured Ukraine's president, Volodymyr Zelensky, to conduct two investigations for political advantage. In a series of Twitter rants, the Republican has dismissed the Democrat-led probe as a witch-hunt.
It will be the third time that the 45th President of the United States of America has visited Stansted: he was here in June for an official state visit with the Queen, 11 months after he first flew into the Uttlesford hub, in July 2018, for a four-day presidential visit.
Stansted is a favourite with American leaders – Mr Trump's Democrat predecessor Barack Obama also made it his airport of choice. The airport's north side, home to several private jet centres, offers security and privacy with plush facilities.
The security services are able to isolate and protect Air Force One, the president's highly customised Boeing VC-25 aircraft ready for departure, while Mr Trump and his 49-year-old wife Melania, a former model born in Slovenia, travel to London aboard Marine One, a Sikorsky VH-3D Sea King helicopter, alongside at least one decoy, with an escort of Chinook choppers.
The president's customised Cadillac, known as the Beast, is always on standby in case bad weather grounds his air transport. The £1.2m, eight-tonne vehicle, capable of withstanding a direct rocket or chemical warfare attack, does four miles to the gallon, and this limited range is just one of the reasons why Stansted is suited as a presidential base, allowing the Beast to reach the capital without refuelling.
The president and First Lady are expected to be met at Stansted by the US ambassador to the UK that he appointed, Robert 'Woody' Johnson, owner of the New York Jets American football team. The president usually stays at the envoy's official residence, Winfield House in Regent's Park, during a visit to London.
During this week's visit, Mr Trump is expected to meet the Queen at Buckingham Palace on Tuesday before he joins world leaders for the NATO meeting.
Since taking office, he has been a critic of the 29-member organisation, which this year marks its 70th anniversary, arguing that his country is paying more than its fair share. NATO was set up in 1949 as a defence partnership between the US and European allies against the former Soviet Union.
Mr Trump is set to have talks with German chancellor Angela Merkel, French president Emmanuel Macron and NATO secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg. There will also be a working lunch with politicians from Estonia, Greece, Latvia, Poland, Romania, Lithuania, Bulgaria and the UK.
More by this authorSinead Corr