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Cars and Transportation

Merkel to fly on new government aircraft

April 11, 2019

Chancellor Angela Merkel and other senior ministers can look forward to traveling in new Airbus aircraft for future diplomatic trips. The existing fleet of official jets struggled to get off the ground in 2018.

Airbus A350
Image: picture-alliance/dpa

The German government has purchased three new Airbus 350 long-haul airplanes for official trips after a repeated technical failures with its current fleet left several politicians stranded.

The three planes will cost €1.2 billion ($1.3 billion), the Defense Ministry said Wednesday. The first is expected to be delivered in 2020 and the other two in 2022. The aging A340-300s currently in service will be phased out, it added.

"The brand new planes will boost the flight readiness of the defense ministry's long-haul capacities," it said.


Glitches with the existing fleet caused several embarrassing incidents last year. In November, German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrived at a G20 summit late after the A340 "Konrad Adenauer" she was flying on had electrical problems and was forced to land in Cologne.

The plane was given a complete overhaul, and on its first flight back in service on April 1, it blew a tire as it landed in New York. Foreign Minister Heiko Maas was on board.

Read more: To fly or not to fly? The environmental cost of air travel

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier was delayed during a trip to several African countries in 2018 when the government's "Theodor Heuss" jet experienced technical problems.

His trip to Belarus in July was likewise temporarily grounded when the "Konrad Adenauer" suffered issues with its hydraulic system.

Flashback: East German Government Planes

law/amp (AFP, dpa)

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