Germany’s state-owned ‘Merkel One’ Airbus A340 to be sold in online auction 

German Air Force Airbus A340-300
BriYYZ / Creative Commons

A German state-owned Airbus A340-300 aircraft is to be sold off in a live online auction after falling out of favor with the country’s politicians in summer 2023. 

Originally known as the ‘Konrad Adenauer’ after the first German chancellor following the Second World War, the Airbus A340 was then nicknamed ‘Merkel One’ after the country’s first female leader, Angela Merkel. 

The A340, registered 16+01, was cast into retirement in August 2023 after Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock was forced to cancel her trip to Australia, New Zealand and Fiji due to mechanical problems with the jet.  

The German Air Force decided it was time to call it a day on the 16+01’s career and the plane was removed from service for an early retirement.  

A second state-owned A340, registered 16+02, was also pulled from service even though it was scheduled to be retired in September 2023. Aircraft 16+01 had initially been set for retirement at the end of 2024.  

It now appears that the German government is going to cash in on its acquisition, which joined the German Air Force in 2011, by selling the jet in a live online auction.  

The Airbus is set to be sold by state-owned trust company Vebeg, which sells assets from fire engines to telescopes. 

In an advanced notice on its website, Vebeg states that the Airbus A340-300 is being sold on behalf of the German government and details regarding the sale will be posted from mid-January 2024.  

Currently the aircraft appears under the live auction section, indicating that Vebeg will be accepting competing offers for the plane online. 

In November 2018, Chancellor Angela Merkel famously missed the start of the G20 summit in Buenos Aires after 16+01 was forced to make an emergency landing in Cologne, Germany. 

In 2019, while the then German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas was aboard the aircraft, it suffered a burst tire upon landing in New York.  

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