Passenger delays after government plane crash lands in Berlin

A German government plane was forced to turn back and make an emergency landing at a Berlin airport shortly after taking off, resulting in chaos for air passengers.

Passenger delays after government plane crash lands in Berlin
The aircraft is towed away at Schönefeld Airport. Photo: DPA

All flights in and out of Berlin’s Schönefeld Airport were suspended on Tuesday morning after the incident, which is said to have been caused by a technical fault.

The German Air Force (Luftwaffe), which operates the aircraft, said that both wings touched the ground, indicating that it was a shaky landing. 

The Bombardier Global 5000 jet was not carrying any passengers when it was forced to make the emergency landing, the Air Force said on Twitter.

“Medical checks are being carried out on the crew. The cause of the incident is under investigation,” it said.

According to officials, the aircraft had been in Schönefeld for maintenance. It was on its way to Cologne, where it is stationed.

SEE ALSO: Not a unique occurrence: How plane problems have plagued German politicians' travel

“The aircraft took off from Schönefeld for a so-called functional flight, which takes place regularly after maintenance work, and during the flight, there was a malfunction, forcing the aircraft to turn back,” an Air Force spokesman told AFP.

“The jet touched the ground with both wings and a controlled landing was no longer possible.”

The runway was briefly closed around 7.30am while the plane was towed away, leading to the disruption of dozens of flights.

It resulted in planes being diverted. Although the incident is now over, passengers departing from Berlin Schönefled are urged to check for delays. 

An investigation is underway into the cause of the incident. 
Series of mishaps

It is the latest in a series of mishaps to hit German government planes.

Chancellor Angela Merkel missed the beginning of a G20 summit in Buenos Aires last November as the plane carrying her from Berlin encountered electrical problems and was forced to land in Cologne.

SEE ALSO: Bumpy start to G20 summit for Merkel as plane forced to make emergency landing

The “Konrad Adenauer” Airbus A340 was given a complete overhaul following the incident but on its first outing since, on April 1, 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.

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 Mueller 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 recently had to fly on a smaller plane, the A321, which required mid-route refuelling in Iceland to complete its journey to the United States.

In response to the defects, the German government announced last week they are paying €1.2 billion to buy three new Airbus A350s planes, the first of which will be delivered in 2020.

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UPDATE: Ryanair passenger jet makes emergency landing in Berlin over ‘fake bomb threat’

Polish police said Monday they were investigating a fake bomb threat that forced a Ryanair passenger plane travelling from Dublin to Krakow to make an emergency landing in Berlin.

UPDATE: Ryanair passenger jet makes emergency landing in Berlin over 'fake bomb threat'
A Ryanair flight making an emergency landing

The flight from Dublin to Krakow made the unexpected diversion after a reported bomb threat, German newspaper Bild Zeitung said.

“We were notified by the Krakow airport that an airport employee received a phone call saying an explosive device had been planted on the plane,” said regional police spokesman, Sebastian Glen.

“German police checked and there was no device, no bomb threat at all. So we know this was a false alarm,” he told AFP on Monday.

“The perpetrator has not been detained, but we are doing everything possible to establish their identity,” Glen added, saying the person faces eight years in prison.

With 160 people on board, the flight arrived at the Berlin Brandenburg airport shortly after 8 pm Sunday, remaining on the tarmac into early Monday morning.

A Berlin police spokesperson said that officers had completed their security checks “without any danger being detected”.

“The passengers will resume their journey to Poland on board a spare aeroplane,” she told AFP, without giving more precise details for the alert.

The flight was emptied with the baggage also searched and checked with sniffer dogs, German media reported.

The passengers were not able to continue their journey until early Monday morning shortly before 4:00 am. The federal police had previously classified the situation as harmless. The Brandenburg police are now investigating the case.

Police said that officers had completed their security checks “without any danger being detected”.

“The Ryanair plane that made an emergency landed reported an air emergency and was therefore immediately given a landing permit at BER,” airport spokesman Jan-Peter Haack told Bild.

“The aircraft is currently in a safe position,” a spokeswoman for the police told the newspaper.

The incident comes a week after a Ryanair flight was forced to divert to Belarus, with a passenger — a dissident journalist — arrested on arrival.

And in July last year, another Ryanair plane from Dublin to Krakow was forced to make an emergency landing in London after a false bomb threat.

READ ALSO: Germany summons Belarus envoy over forced Ryanair landing