Kalamazoo airport welcomes Air Force One as President Joe Biden visits Pfizer

Air Force One at Kalamazoo - Battle Creek International Airport
Posted at 3:38 PM, Feb 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-19 16:40:21-05

KALAMAZOO, Mich. — The president's visit is an exciting one for residents and community leaders in Portage.

The preparations for the president's arrival continued throughout the day at the Kalamazoo-Battle Creek International Airport as safety details were put into place.

Many community members even came out to see Air Force One land, and one lady said she took the day off of work just so she could be there.

"I just have so much pride. There is so much pride in my community," said Portage resident Amy Lentz.

SEE MORE: PHOTOS: President Biden visits Pfizer facility in Portage

Amy Lentz lives in Portage and said she would've regretted not taking the day off to see President Joe Biden arrive in the city she's called home for the last 20 years.

"It has been such a rough year. There has been so much racial tension, political tension, everything, you name it. The fact he is coming here, I guess it just brings a little more inspiration," said Lentz.

The City of Portage's Mayor Patricia Randall said it has been a long eleven months of the pandemic, and getting to be the focal point for the world is exciting as Pfizer employees have been working 24/7 to help produce vaccines.

"Pfizer just reduced the time to develop a vaccine from 100 days down to 60. It is not once they got it figured out, they stopped. They just keep trying to make it better and better. I think that the workforce is very much looking forward to seeing the president," said the City of Portage's Mayor Patricia Randall.

Since the Kalamazoo-Battle Creek International Airport received the news Air Force One would be landing there last Friday, they've also been preparing nonstop.

RELATED: 'This administration is guided by science': Biden delivers remarks while visiting Pfizer facility

But, they said there weren't any major hurdles they had to jump over, and they were happy to make it happen.

"Just the coordination between all of the entities that are involved here, between air traffic control, public safety, airport operations and maintenance, just making sure every day we are all on the same page. It is just a lot of communication," said Eric Bjorkman, the assistant director of operations and maintenance for the Kalamazoo-Battle Creek International Airport.

"Any opportunity you have to host the president of the United States is just a great honor. We’re thrilled that he is coming to Kalamazoo. It has been a lot of planning and a lot of work, but we are happy to have him here," said Craig Williams, the Kalamazoo-Battle Creek International Airport's airport director.

The airport said normal operations were not affected and passengers were still able to go in and out.

Many people from within the community gathered in the surrounding parking lots to get whatever view of the president they could.

RELATED: Portage city manager discusses impact of Biden visit

Follow FOX 17: Facebook - Twitter - Instagram - YouTube