The German Federal Ministry of Defence (Bundeswehr) is looking to replace its ageing fleet of two Airbus A340-300 aircraft, according to German newspaper Der Spiegel.
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.
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.
The German Air Force is looking forward to the more reliable A350. Normally, it takes years to receive aircraft on order but a few deals between Airbus and airlines didn’t go through. In this case, the aircraft would not have the “VVIP” interior. Installing a VIP interior – with meeting rooms, bedrooms and showers – would cost an additional €150M and would take another year. Hence, the air force is planning to buy the regular A350. Not to worry for its VIP travelers: next to the regular economy class seats, the A350 will be fitted with first class and business class seats.
On Wednesday, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier’s flight to Africa was delayed a few hours after a failure of the auxiliary unit, required to start the engines. The President lightheartedly accepted the delay but for the German Air Force, however, every delay is considered as embarrassing. They want to avoid further negative news on breakdowns of government aircraft: next week, when Chancellor Merkel leaves for Japan, a second aircraft will be on standby 24/7.