Despite a near uprising within the conservative blogosphere, it turns out Bo, the White House dog, didn’t get his own plane for the family vacation.
President Obama’s trip to Bar Harbor, Maine did cost the small airport where the president landed hundreds of thousands of dollars in estimated lost revenue over the weekend, Hancock County Bar Harbor Airport Manager Allison Navia told The Daily Caller. She added, however, that it was typical of a presidential visit and they hoped to make up the lost funds with the publicity.
As is standard procedure for presidential travel, recreational flights, rental car agencies and scenic flight operations could not operate during the trip, costing revenue losses in the six figures, Navia estimated. The costs included up to 30,000 gallons of fuel that went unsold and as many as 150 recreational flights that had to be canceled over the temporary flight restriction that was in effect for the airport.
The president and his family touched down Friday for a short holiday, arriving in two G3-Gulfstream jets for staff and family and an Air Force C-130 for the U.S. Secret Service and members of the media. The president did not fly in the usual 747 because the airport’s 5,000-foot landing strip was too short to accommodate a plane of that size.
Lost revenue is typical for airports that host sitting presidents, said Sean Slynn, manager of Martha’s Vineyard Airport, which former President Bill Clinton frequented often during his presidency and which Obama visited last year. He said that it was just part of the job as a public airport to accommodate the president and that security increased heavily under former President Bush.
Navia said she would welcome another presidential trip to Bar Harbor, but she hopes he does not make it his go-to location, given the time and effort involved in hosting the commander-in-chief.
“I don’t think I would want it every year,” she said.
A spokesman for the U.S. Secret Service declined to comment on the specific security costs of presidential travel and the White House did not respond to requests for comment.