German air force jet makes rough landing, diverts traffic | News | DW | 16.04.2019
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German air force jet makes rough landing, diverts traffic

The incident was the latest in a series of major embarrassments for Berlin when it comes to German government and military planes. Authorities said there were no passengers on board.

Germany's official air fleet experienced yet another embarrassment on Tuesday, as a government jet was forced to turn back shortly after takeoff, blocking the runway at Berlin's Schönefeld airport.

"The plane had contact with the ground with both wings and a controlled landing was no longer possible," a spokesman for the German air force said, adding that there were no passengers on board and the crew would be medically examined at a Bundeswehr (military) hospital in case of potential injuries.

The Bombardier Global 5000 airplane had been at Schönefeld for maintenance and was flying back to its home base in Cologne when it suffered a malfunction shortly after takeoff, experiencing a rough landing as it came back down.

Long-standing issues

Germany's fleet of 14 government planes has experienced several major problems in the past six months, alongside regular complaints from the military that its equipment is faulty and outdated.

Last November, Chancellor Angela Merkel arrived late to the G20 summit in Argentina after the Airbus A340 she was traveling in had to make an emergency landing in Cologne, forcing her to take a commercial flight to Buenos Aires.

In January, President Frank-Walter Steinmeier was affected by a similar problem in Ethiopia, as was Foreign Minister Heiko Maas in Mali in February.

The latest incident interrupted traffic at Schönefeld, and planes approaching the airport were diverted.

On top of the problems with its planes, Germany has also been embarrassed by the seemingly unending saga of Berlin's new flagship airport, which was supposed to be opened in 2011 and now has a proposed opening date of late 2020 at the earliest.

es/rc (AP, dpa)

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