German government buys new planes after technical embarrassments

The German government has purchased three new Airbus 350 long-haul planes for official trips after a series of embarrassing technical failures with its current fleet, including one which grounded Chancellor Angela Merkel.

German government buys new planes after technical embarrassments
An Air350 plane after landing at the Frankfurt airport. Photo: DPA

Berlin will pay 1.2 billion for the three A350s, the first to be delivered in 2020 and the remaining two in 2022, the ministry said Wednesday.

“The brand new planes will boost the flight readiness of the defence ministry's long-haul capacities,” it said.

Once are delivered, the A340-300s currently in service would be phased out, it added.

Among the embarrassing technical failures that hit the government service fleet in the last months was one in November affecting Merkel.

SEE ALSO: 'No indication of a criminal act': Merkel set for late G20 arrival after plane fault

The chancellor missed the beginning of a G20 summit in Buenos Aires as the plane carrying her from Berlin encountered electrical problems and was forced to land in Cologne.

The “Konrad Adenauer” Airbus was given a complete overhaul following the incident but on its first outing since on April 1st, it blew a tyre on landing in New York with Foreign Minister Heiko Maas on board.

The plane eventually had to be towed to its parking space, but the delay meant that Maas missed his first appointments at the UN.

SEE ALSO: Foreign minister Maas latest German politician plagued by plane problems

In March, the foreign minister was stranded in Mali due to a hydraulic problem with his Airbus A319's landing gear.

The plane woes have also hit other top German officials.

At the end of January, President Frank-Walter Steinmeier was stuck in Ethiopia for similar reasons while Development Minister Gerd Müller had to cancel a trip to Namibia at the start of the year owing to problems with his plane.

With the Konrad Adenauer back in the repair workshop, Finance Minister Olaf Scholz had to fly on a smaller plane, the A321, which required mid-route refuelling in Iceland to complete its journey to the United States.

SEE ALSO: German government mulls renewing Airbus fleet after series of plane problems

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These are the airlines restarting flights to and from Germany

As Germany prepares to allow travel to more countries, we looked at what flights are available or coming up.

These are the airlines restarting flights to and from Germany
A plane flying above Freising, Bavaria on March 3rd 2020 before the coronavirus shutdown. Photo: DPA

Air traffic across the world came to a near-standstill due to the coronavirus pandemic. But gradually and slowly, countries are opening up to tourists again, and airlines are planning to increase their flight operations.

From June 15th, the warning against tourist travel put in place by the German government to stall the spread of coronavirus will be lifted for EU countries. However, the warning is expected to stay in place for countries outside the EU until August 31st.

READ ALSO: These are the countries where Germany is planning to lift the travel warning

Here's a look at some of the airlines slowly getting their timetables back on track.

Lufthansa and subsidiaries

Lufthansa restarted many flights from early June, with a focus on connecting major German and European cities, as well as tourist destinations. 

From June 15th, Lufthansa will be resuming around 20 German and European destinations from Frankfurt and as many as 34 from Munich – supplementing the airline's flight schedule, which has been growing steadily for a few weeks.

These include holiday destinations as Dubrovnik, Faro, Venice, Ibiza and Malaga from Frankfurt, as well as Porto, Split, Cyprus, Biarritz and Agadir and more from Munich. 

READ ALSO: How Germany's Lufthansa is lifting off again as lockdowns ease

Meanwhile, services to highly demanded destinations, such as Mallorca or Sylt, will be gradually increased. As a result, Lufthansa's flight schedule will grow from around 500 to almost 900 weekly connections at the Frankfurt and Munich hubs over the course of June.

In addition, 34 long-haul destinations are now also available again in the Lufthansa Group airlines' flight schedules. In total the airlines now offer around 112 weekly connections to destinations outside Europe.

On short- and medium-haul routes, Lufthansa will offer a total of 1,800 weekly connections from September onwards. There will be 102 destinations from Frankfurt and 88 from Munich, including Malaga, Alicante, Valencia, Naples, Rhodes, Palermo, Faro, Madeira, Olbia, Dubrovnik, Reykjavik and many other summer destinations from Frankfurt.

From June 15th Austrian Airlines will resume regular flights after a break of almost 90 days. The airline will take off to 37 destinations in the first two weeks of the new start. 

From July, Austrian Airlines will take off on regular long-haul flights for the first time since mid-March. Bangkok, Chicago, New York (Newark) and Washington will be available with up to three weekly flights. The European network offer will also be expanded to include various routes from July onwards – including flights to Greece.

READ ALSO: Germany plans to make face masks mandatory at airports

SWISS plans to increase its services to Italy, and will resume services from Zurich to Brindisi, Florence, Naples, Palermo, Rome and other destinations in the second half of June. From Geneva, SWISS passengers will again be able to fly to Faro and Nice, among other destinations.  SWISS will continue to serve some ten long-haul destinations.

Eurowings will be substantially expanding its timetable from June onwards, adding 40 new European destinations to its schedule.

The fleet will be doubled to up to 20 Airbus aircraft by the end of June. One focus of the expansion of the flight schedule is on connections to Europe's most popular islands Mallorca, Sylt and Heringsdorf as well as holiday destinations such as Greece and Croatia. 

Eurowings will be putting 30 to 40 percent of its flight capacity back into the air in July – with the main focus on flights from Düsseldorf, Hamburg, Stuttgart and Cologne/Bonn

From June 15th, Brussels Airlines will resume flight operations and offer a route network of 59 destinations between June and August.

Lufthansa employees at Munich airport on June 3rd. Photo: DPA

In accordance with the entry regulations of the respective countries, Edelweiss will continuously expand its flight offerings in the coming weeks. By the end of June, it plans to operate 171 flights to 36 holiday destinations. It is also planned to operate the first long-haul flights on a regular basis again.

Air Dolomiti has already announced the resumption of flight operations with new domestic connections. The Group airline will be operating its first flights from Florence to Catania and Palermo from June 5th and from June 19th to Bari and Cagliari.


On the condition that travel restrictions on flights within the EU are relaxed and health and safety measures are introduced at airports, the Irish low-cost carrier Ryanair wants to resume 40 percent of regular flights from July 1st, the operator said.

Ryanair will then offer almost 1,000 flights a day, covering 90 percent of the routes the airline operated before the coronavirus crisis, including Cologne and Berlin Schönefeld.


The British low-cost airline Easyjet announced on Friday May 22nd that it would resume flight operations on June 15th. The first flights would be primarily on domestic routes in the UK and France, and on a small number of international routes.

“Easyjet will continue to expand its operations as customer demand continues to grow and travel restrictions are eased,” the announcement said.

READ ALSO: When can Americans travel to Germany?


Tuifly hopes to resume flights at the end of June/beginning of July. Currently up until June 30th, there are only planned flights to Portugal from Germany (from June 17th) and to Cyprus (from June 28th).


Condor announced on Wednesday May 20th that it would be returning to 29 holiday destinations from eight German airports on June 25th.

Flights will then take off from Frankfurt, Düsseldorf, Munich, Hamburg, Hanover, Stuttgart, Leipzig/Halle and Berlin-Schönefeld to destinations including the Canary Islands, the Balearic Islands, Andalusia, Greece, Croatia, Sardinia, Italy, Cyprus, Turkey and the North Sea island of Sylt.

Any new booking made before May 31st can be rebooked free of charge, said Condor.

READ ALSO: What you need to know about Germany's quarantine travel rules


KLM is gradually offering more services. From July the operator plans to serve 78 percent of destinations with more than 3,000 departing flights at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol.

Destinations will include Berlin Tegel, Düsseldorf, Munich, Stuttgart and Hamburg.


The Dubai-based airline is currently operating three times a week from Frankfurt to Dubai.

In addition, Emirates has been operating scheduled flights from Dubai to London Heathrow, Paris, Milan, Madrid, Chicago, Toronto, Sydney and Melbourne again since May 21st.

For passengers traveling from the UK to Australia, the airline is also offering connecting flights in Dubai. “Passengers can only take the flights if they meet the requirements and entry criteria of their destination countries,” the airline says.