First New Government Aircraft Lands in Bundeswehr
(Source: German Ministry of Defense; issued Aug 20, 2020)
(Unofficial translation by Defense-Aerospace.com)
Handover of the first Airbus A350 to the German Federal Government's Special Air Mission Wing by Dr. Johannes Bussmann, CEO Lufthansa Technik to Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, Minister of Defence. (LT photo)
Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer and her cabinet colleagues will in future travel on their official business in a modified Airbus A350-900. The Defense Minister took over the particularly innovative long-haul aircraft at a ceremony at Lufthansa Technik in Hamburg Airport.

“I'm definitely looking forward to this new plane. It will also meet the most modern standards of climate and environmental requirements,” Kramp-Karrenbauer said on Thursday morning in Hangar 7, also known as the “Jumbo Hall.”

“We are the federal government, the government of the state, which has the most modern aircraft in its own fleet,” said the minister. The aircraft will ensure the government's global mobility even better than before. In addition, only a year and a half passed from the purchase decision to the handover.

The A350 had been rebuilt for government needs since May. "We are proud to present the Federal Minister of Defense in person with the new flagship for the federal government's readiness to fly," said Johannes Bussmann, CEO of Lufthansa Technik.

Lieutenant General Ingo Gerhartz, the Inspector of the Air Force, and Secretary of State for Armaments Benedikt Zimmer also inspected the new government aircraft, which is setting standards for climate protection. It was built in Toulouse, France. The A350 was initially handed over with a so-called interim cabin. The interim solution had become necessary because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Flying office for the government

The interim cabin will later be replaced by the final installations. There will then be a work area and large meeting rooms on board the aircraft. Additional sanitary facilities are also installed.

Two more aircraft are currently being modified. The first A350-900 is scheduled to go into service at the end of September. Until then, the crews will be trained for the new aircraft, and test flights are still continuing.

Aircraft are to be replaced by 2022

The Bundeswehr ordered the three modern Airbus aircraft in the spring 2019. Previously, the decades-old government aircraft of the previous A340-300 model had many technical problems, and were repeatedly grounded. In her speech, the minister therefore emphasized that it could not go on like this.

It was therefore decided to procure new long-haul aircraft. The Airbus A350 that has now been delivered will initially complement the two older aircraft; its identification markings are "10 + 03".

The other two Airbus A350s with the identifications “10 + 01” and “10 + 02” are to be handed over in 2022. The two A340s will then be retired.

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Handover of the First Airbus A350 to the German Federal Government's Special Air Mission Wing
(Source: Lufthansa Technik AG; issued Aug. 20, 2020)
Lufthansa Technik AG today handed over the first of three new Airbus A350-900s to the German Armed Forces. During a small ceremony in Hamburg, conducted according to current pandemic rules, Minister of Defence Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer took a first look at the future flagship of the Federal Ministry of Defence's (BMVg) Special Air Mission Wing.

On the way to the final operational readiness of the aircraft, the military certification for the 10+03 designation and various test flights with the new wide-body aircraft will take place in the coming weeks. This is the world's first government aircraft of this type and thus also the world's first Airbus A350 not to be used in commercial airline service.

"The exemplary procurement process is really something to be proud of," said Minister Kramp-Karrenbauer. "The decision to purchase the new A350 fleet was made just 1.5 years ago. My thanks therefore go to all those involved in industry and German Armed Forces, because everyone really pulled together here. With its 25 percent lower fuel consumption - compared to older, comparable types - the ultra-modern A350 is future-oriented, and with the new fleet we are securing global mobility as an important part of the Federal Government's ability to work", the Federal Minister continued.

"And with the addition of two more brand-new A350s, the mobility expected of an industrial nation like Germany is adequately ensured."

"Today we are proud to present to the Federal Minister of Defence the new flagship of the Federal Government's Special Air Mission Wing, the world's very first Airbus A350 as a government aircraft," said Dr. Johannes Bussmann, Chairman of the Executive Board of Lufthansa Technik AG. "The 10+03 and its two subsequent sister aircraft are a continuation of the successful tradition of supplying the German Armed Forces and having them as one of our best and most important customers."

The factory-fresh aircraft, which was still on the civil register as D-AGAF, arrived at Lufthansa Technik at the beginning of May. It is equipped with a special transitional cabin for political-parliamentary flight operations. The cabin comes with office and conference areas, adjoined by a multifunctional lounge area. The remaining space is available for delegations flying on the aircraft.

After sister aircraft 10+01 and 10+02, which are currently under construction, will receive a fully-fledged government cabin from Lufthansa Technik next year, the transitional cabin in the 10+03 will also be exchanged.

The effects of the global coronavirus pandemic on the supply chain slightly delayed the planned delivery of the 10+03 to the German Armed Forces. It will now take place in the coming weeks, during which the aircraft will receive its military certification and be prepared for a smooth entry-into-service at the Federal Ministry of Defence's Special Air Mission Wing, complete with crew training and various test flights.

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