Baerbock’s breakdown plane
The “problem child” of the Luftwaffe is back in Germany
08/19/2023, 07:40 am
Annalena Baerbock wants to go to Australia, but it’s over in Abu Dhabi: the Foreign Minister has to cancel her trip because of a defect in the government plane. The breakdown plane is decommissioned – and is already back on German soil.
The Airbus 340 of the Bundeswehr’s flight readiness service, with which Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock was supposed to fly to Australia, has landed safely in Germany after a series of breakdowns. “We are glad that our problem child has landed safely in Cologne again,” the Air Force said in a tweet. “Welcome home,” it said. A video was published in which the plane drives over an airport runway.
The machine had started in Abu Dhabi. From there, two unsuccessful launch attempts had previously taken place with the Federal Foreign Minister on board. The aircraft had to return to Abu Dhabi both times due to technical problems. The pilots could not retract the take-off flaps after take-off. The machine had to dump around 80 tons of kerosene into the air twice.
Baerbock then canceled her planned trip to Australia, New Zealand and Fiji and returned to Germany by scheduled flight. According to the “Spiegel”, a sensor on the wings of the aircraft had been replaced before the return flight, which could have prevented the retraction of the take-off flaps.
The Bundeswehr’s flight readiness service has two A340 aircraft that were bought second-hand from Lufthansa in 2011. One of them was actually supposed to be discarded in September, the Baerbock plane at the end of 2024. Because of the repeated problems, the Air Force decided to immediately decommission both A340 jets that the flight service has in operation.
Instead, the existing, more modern A350 will be used for long-haul routes in the future. Two of these machines can currently be used in flight readiness. A third has already been purchased, but is still being equipped for the special requirements of government machines.