Lufthansa launches probe after plane that was to carry German president almost crashed | News | DW | 26.04.2019
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Lufthansa launches probe after plane that was to carry German president almost crashed

German government planes have had a series of embarrassing mechanical problems in the past several months. In the latest incident, a plane that was scheduled to carry the German president the next day nearly crashed.

German airline Lufthansa is investigating one of its subsidiaries two weeks after a government plane almost crashed following a maintenance check.

The Bombardier Global 5000 had been at Berlin Schönefeld Airport for comprehensive maintenance and suffered a malfunction shortly after takeoff on April 16. During an uncontrolled landing, both of the plane's wings touched the runway.

No passengers were on board, but the plane had been scheduled to fly German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier to Stuttgart the next day.

Lufthansa said Friday that it took the incident "very seriously" and would "thoroughly review the maintenance work on the aircraft by the Lufthansa subsidiary Lufthansa Bombardier Aviation Services (LBAS)."

The Luftwaffe, Germany's air force, is also conducting an investigation.

Neither the Luftwaffe nor Lufthansa commented on the details of the investigation.

Spate of mechanical problems 

The German government's aging fleet of 14 planes that carry ministers and the president has encountered numerous problems in the past months. In response, the Defense Ministry announced plans in February to purchase three new Airbus A350s for long-haul flights. The first is expected to be delivered in 2020 and the other two in 2022.

In December, Chancellor Angela Merkel arrived late to the G-20 summit in Buenos Aires after her plane had mechanical problems over the Netherlands and was forced to land in the western German city of Cologne.

In January, Steinmeier arrived three hours late in Ethiopia after his plane encountered problems in Berlin. Development Minister Gerd Müller had to cancel a trip to Namibia in January during his tour of Africa due to another mechanical issue. 

In February, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas was stranded in Mali after his Airbus A319 was unable to depart due to a mechanical issue.

cw/sms (dpa, Reuters)

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