Germany scraps state-owned Airbus A340s over minister’s flight fiasco to Australia

German Air Force Airbus A340-300
BriYYZ / Creative Commons

The German Air Force has confirmed that the two state-owned Airbus A340-300 aircraft will take an early retirement 

The move comes after Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock was forced to cancel her trip to Australia, New Zealand and Fiji after the government A340 she was traveling on suffered a series of problems after leaving Germany.  

“We will take the two #A340 out of service as soon as possible, i.e., in the coming weeks. The two Airbus A340s were originally scheduled to be retired in September 2023 (16+02) and at the end of 2024 (16+01, located in Abu Dhabi),” the German Air Force wrote on X (formerly known as Twitter).  

The air force added: “With the #A350, robust and modern aircraft for long-haul flights are available to those ready to fly.” 

The flight fiasco began on August 13, when Germany’s 16+01 aircraft departed Berlin Airport (BER) for Canberra Airport (CBR) in Australia. 

After six hours of flying the A340 made a scheduled stop at Abu Dhabi Airport (AUH) in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to refuel.  

After a two hour stop the government jet continued its journey but was forced to return to AUH following an issue with the aircraft’s flaps.  

Before landing back in the UAE, the plane was forced to dump its fuel, no doubt at a cost to the German TAX payer.  

It was decided while the plane was being fixed the delegation would spend the night in a hotel.  

The following day the Airbus A340 once again took off but subsequently suffered the exact same problem shortly after take off and the jet returned to AUH, but not before enough fuel to fly to Australia was dumped first. 

On August 15, 2023, the trip was called off and plans were put in place for the German Minister to return home on a commercial flight.  

“We tried everything, but it is no longer logistically possible to continue my Pacific trip without the defect aircraft. It is beyond annoying,” Baerbock wrote on X (formerly known as Twitter). 

The Germany’s 16+01 aircraft joined the German Air Force in 2011.  

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