German government buys new planes after technical embarrassments

An Air350 plane after landing at the Frankfurt airport. Photo: DPA

The German government has purchased three
new Airbus 350 long-haul planes for official trips after a series of
embarrassing technical failures with its current fleet, including one which
grounded Chancellor Angela Merkel.


Berlin will pay 1.2 billion for the three A350s, the first to be delivered in 2020 and the remaining two in 2022, the ministry said Wednesday.


“The brand new planes will boost the flight readiness of the defence ministry’s long-haul capacities,” it said.


Once are delivered, the A340-300s currently in service would be phased out, it added.


Among the embarrassing technical failures that hit the government service fleet in the last months was one in November affecting Merkel.


SEE ALSO: ‘No indication of a criminal act’: Merkel set for late G20 arrival after plane fault


The chancellor missed the beginning of a G20 summit in Buenos Aires as the plane carrying her from Berlin encountered electrical problems and was forced to land in Cologne.


The “Konrad Adenauer” Airbus was given a complete overhaul following the incident but on its first outing since on April 1st, it blew a tyre on landing in New York with Foreign Minister Heiko Maas on board.


The plane eventually had to be towed to its parking space, but the delay meant that Maas missed his first appointments at the UN.


SEE ALSO: Foreign minister Maas latest German politician plagued by plane problems


In March, the foreign minister was stranded in Mali due to a hydraulic problem with his Airbus A319’s landing gear.


The plane woes have also hit other top German officials.


At the end of January, President Frank-Walter Steinmeier was stuck in Ethiopia for similar reasons while Development Minister Gerd Müller had to cancel a trip to Namibia at the start of the year owing to problems with his plane.


With the Konrad Adenauer back in the repair workshop, Finance Minister Olaf Scholz had to fly on a smaller plane, the A321, which required mid-route refuelling in Iceland to complete its journey to the United States.


SEE ALSO: German government mulls renewing Airbus fleet after series of plane problems




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