Last night, German politician and Minister of Foreign Affairs Heiko Jozef Maas got stranded in Bamako, Mali. He supposed to fly back to Berlin, but a technical issue on the German Air Force A319 (15+02) forced Maas to stay another night in the Malian capital.
A replacement aircraft (German Air Force Airbus A340-313 (16+01)) has been deployed to bring Maas back to Berlin where he is now scheduled to land on Friday evening.
Maas took the delay very lightheartedly: “I have now flown more than 300,000 kilometers without a breakdown,” he said, “At some point it will catch everyone.” The Foreign Minister has been traveling in West Africa since Sunday and Mali was his last stop before returning to Germany.
It’s not the first time an aircraft of the German Air Force brakes down: on 29 November 2018, chancellor Angela Merkel had a dreadful experience on board her German Air Force Airbus A340-313. The aircraft was en route from Berlin to Buenos Aires to attend the G20 meeting but developed technical problems which led to the malfunction of several electronic systems. The pilots then decided to divert to Cologne/Bonn Airport. Merkel continued her journey to Argentina on board an Iberia commercial aircraft.
At the end of 2019, the German Air Force would order three Airbus A350s worth €150M each with a first delivery in 2020. It’s the first time that this type is used as a government aircraft.