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Frozen airplane ruins German foreign minister's UK visit

December 9, 2022

A meeting between Germany's and Britain's top diplomats was canceled after a build-up of ice prevented Annalena Baerbock's plane from taking off on time.

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock cathes her flight at Dublin airport, but ice is clearly visible on the wing
Baerbock had wanted to fly from Dublin to LondonImage: Christoph Soeder/dpa/picture alliance

Germany's foreign minister Annalena Baerbock had to cancel a meeting with her British counterpart after her airplane was grounded in Ireland due to ice.

Baerbock said she was "very sad," she could not meet British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly.

"But you can't do anything about force majeure — and certainly not about unexpected ice and snow in Dublin," the minister said.

She was due to fly back to Berlin after the aircraft was de-iced.

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock gets into a government plan at Dublin Airport
Ice is clearly visible on the German Air Force planeImage: Christoph Soeder/dpa/picture alliance

Baerbock met her Irish counterpart Simon Coveney in Dublin on Thursday.

She was keen to travel to the UK too to underline the importance of Germany's partnership with Britain despite the problems caused by Brexit.

"We are close partners and friends," the minister said in Berlin before departing for a visit to Ireland and Britain on Thursday.

The meeting has been postponed twice before, once for the crisis when British prime minister Boris Johnson resigned and the second time due to the death of Queen Elizabeth II in September.

German government officials stranded before

It's not the first time problems with planes have derailed German diplomacy.

In 2018, then Chancellor Angela Merkel famously missed the opening of the G20 summit in Argentina after her plane was forced to land shortly after leaving Berlin.

A year later the Foreign Minister at the time, Heiko Maas, was stranded in Mali after his airplane was unable to depart due to a problem.

Ice not mechanics the problem

Germany's Air Force has since purchased three new Airbus A350s for VIP transport to replace the ageing fleet of government planes.

The issue on Friday, however, seemed to have been caused by the weather at Dublin airport rather than with the plane.

Several frustrated passengers took to social media to complain about long delays.

Dublin Airport and Ryanair, which uses it as a hub, wrote on Twitter that severe ice had caused flight delays and cancelations.

lo/aw (dpa, Reuters)