German Government Buys Three New Aircraft After Fiascos
(Source: Deutsche Welle German Radio; issued 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.

The German government has purchased three new Airbus 350 long-haul airplanes for official trips after 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.

Grounded

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.

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.

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