We thought it was curious that Gov. Mike Huckabee always utilizes Andrews Air Force base when he travels to the Washington, D.C., area.
Andrews is well-known as the headquarters of the 89th Airlift Wing, which is in charge of transporting the president of the United States and other high federal officials. It’s the home of Air Force One.
As it turns out, Huckabee’s frequent-flyer status at Andrews is indeed unusual. We exchanged e-mails with the 89th Airlift Wing’s public affairs office, and asked whether Andrews Air Force Base is commonly utilized by state governors as a destination airport for the Washington, D.C., area.
“NO [his emphasis],” said Lt. Col. Bruce Alexander, the 89th’s chief of public affairs. “Rarely does a state governor fly into Andrews AFB. Only other ones we can recall are VA Governor about 3 months ago, and Florida Governor 3x this year. Gov of Arkansas uses Andrews AFB approx twice a month.”
Neither Huckabee’s office nor the Arkansas State Police would discuss why he always flies into Andrews.
The base is obviously more secure than a public airport, but it is unclear why the governor of Arkansas would be uniquely in need of such heightened measures that other governors don’t utilize.
We asked Lt. Col. Alexander why a state governor would fly to Andrews instead of Reagan National Airport, which is closer to Washington, D.C. He said, “It is less costly flying into Andrews. There are no landing and parking fees charged. Convenience is also an issue. The [distinguished visitor’s] car is allowed planeside, and also escorted to/from the DV gate.”
These “DV” trappings — the kinship with presidential power — may well be an important factor in Huckabee’s choice of a destination airport.