Not a unique occurrence: how plane problems have plagued German politicians' travel

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Not a unique occurrence: how plane problems have plagued German politicians' travel
Merkel's plane after making a landling in Cologne on Thursday evening. Photo: DPA

For the German Luftwaffe or air force - and the wider military, known as the Bundeswehr - the chancellor's plane issues were the latest in a string of mishaps that have made headlines in recent years.


Germany's air force on Friday was investigating a serious technical mishap on Chancellor Angela Merkel's plane that forced an emergency landing and delayed her arrival at the G20 summit by more than 12 hours.

The latest embarrassing glitch for the German military forced Merkel to instead take a commercial flight to Buenos Aires with a vastly reduced delegation and miss scheduled talks with several world leaders.

Yet this is not the first time in recent history that a high-profile German politician has been set back by plane troubles.

In October, Finance Minister Olaf Scholz had to take a commercial flight home from a summit in Bali, Indonesia after rats had chewed through cables of the Konrad Adenauer, disabling the aircraft for days.

In June, problems with the hydraulics system on the same plane forced President Frank-Walter Steinmeier to take an alternative aircraft to Minsk.

And in 2015, technical problems with the Konrad Adenauer forced Merkel and five ministers to make a flight to India on a A310 military troop transporter.

The armed forces, which complains of being overstretched and underfunded, has long been dogged by a series of equipment failures that have also grounded fighter jets and kept submarines and tanks out of service.

Its G36 assault rifle became the butt of jokes after reports it had trouble firing straight at high temperatures, and is being phased out.

In other setbacks of recent years, German Tornado surveillance aircraft scrapped night missions because of a glare problem involving cockpit displays and pilots' goggles.

Last year Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen took an Airbus A400M to Lithuania to show off the new transport aircraft, but engine trouble grounded it and forced her to return home on a decades-old Transall C-160 transporter.




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