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How President Obama’s jet got fueled in Vietnam

Thursday, May 26, 2016, 18:44 GMT+7

A total of 35 metric tons of jet fuel was pumped into President Obama’s Air Force One to prepare for his trip to Japan after he wrapped up his Vietnam visit in Ho Chi Minh City on Wednesday afternoon.

In order for the aviation fuel Jet A1 to be sufficient for the gas tank of the aircraft, the fueling process had to undergo a several-month long series of careful preparation, selection, inspection, and supervision from the lab to the storage facility and then to the airplane.

Each task was carried out by U.S. security units.

After President Obama arrived in Ho Chi Minh City on Tuesday afternoon, the fuel filling progress began at around 5:10 pm with two tanker trucks of Vietnam Air Petrol Company – Skypec – approaching the aircraft.

The procedure was closely monitored by two layers of security, one of which was conducted by the U.S. force and the other by employees of Tan Son Nhat International Airport in the southern city.

Several staffers were also assigned the mission of guarding the two tanker trucks from early in the morning until the operation began in the late afternoon.    


The tanker trucks of Skypec at Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Tuoi Tre

According to a representative of Skypec, despite the short distance between Ho Chi Minh City and Tokyo, the amount of fuel still had to go through thorough examinations set to ensure it was of the correct standards.

The fuel pumping process is considered an important focus of U.S. security agencies during President Obama’s trips, an official of the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam said.

One month prior to the U.S. head of state’s visit to Vietnam, security officers arrived in the Southeast Asian country to select a competent fuel provider.

Before Skypec was entrusted with the mission, several inspections were carried out to determine whether the company’s storage system, tanker trucks, laboratories, and security procedures met all of the U.S. president’s safety requirements.

The Vietnamese firm was also requested to submit a list of its employees in charge of the process to the U.S. Consulate in Ho Chi Minh City for a background check.

On May 19, representatives of U.S. security agencies came to Vietnam for a final examination of the fuel.

Two days before President Obama landed in Ho Chi Minh City, U.S. and airport security units, along with Skypec employees, pumped the gas into the tanker trucks, which were then guarded by the U.S. military around the clock.

President Obama began his first visit to Vietnam on Monday and concluded it on Wednesday to fly to Japan for a G7 summit.


Inspection at the Skypec laboratory. Photo: Tuoi Tre

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