Plane malfunction disrupts German Foreign Minister’s trip to Sydney

  • By Jenny Hill in Berlin and Jaroslav Lukev in London
  • BBC News

image source, Luftwaffe/X Team

photo caption,

The 23-year-old government plane will retire early after technical problems

German Foreign Minister Annalina Berbock has canceled a trip to Australia, New Zealand and Fiji after her government plane had to make an emergency landing for the second time in two days.

She was left stranded in Abu Dhabi after her 23-year-old Airbus A340-300 experienced recurring wing flap problems.

“This is very disturbing,” the minister wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Germany may have a reputation for efficiency, but government aircraft are unreliable.

Earlier that year, Olaf Schultz — Germany’s finance minister at the time and now chancellor — was stranded in Indonesia after rodents chewed the wires on that plane.

Ms. Barbock was en route to the Indo-Pacific on Sunday when a wing on her plane failed, forcing the pilots to make an emergency landing in the United Arab Emirates.

After repairs and a successful test flight, the plane took off again on Tuesday — only for the same problem to reappear.

photo caption,

Annalena Baerbock admitted that it was impossible to continue her journey

In the end, the minister had to cancel her week-long trip. Its team cannot be booked on commercial flights within the schedule.

“We have tried everything: unfortunately it is logistically impossible to continue my Indo-Pacific voyage without the faulty aircraft,” Ms Baerbock wrote on X.

Because of the accident, the Luftwaffe announced that it would be retiring the aircraft early. Other government A340-300 aircraft will also be replaced.

She said in a post on X.

Instead, the recently purchased A350s will soon be used by senior government officials.

“With the A350, the Air Force has at its disposal powerful, modern aircraft for long-range operations,” said the Luftwaffe.

In May, Mexico finally solved the problem of a state plane: for more than four years it failed to sell a luxury presidential jet, but in the end it was bought by the Tajik government.

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