BERLIN (AP) – Germany’s foreign minister was suspended in Abu Dhabi on Monday after a technical problem with her government plane – the latest in a string of accidents – forced her to return to the airport rather than continue to Australia.
Foreign Minister Annalina Berbock is due in Canberra on Monday evening, kicking off a visit to Australia, New Zealand and Fiji. But its German Air Force Airbus A340 had to return to Abu Dhabi after a refueling stop due to a “mechanical problem with the landing flaps,” ministry spokesman Sebastian Fischer wrote on Twitter.
The German News Agency (dpa) reported that the pilot noticed the problem minutes after the plane took off from Abu Dhabi, and the plane landed again safely two hours later after unloading about 80 tons of fuel.
The German Air Force posted on X that they were “working under high pressure” to enable the delegation to continue their journey.
It was the latest in a series of problems with German government aircraft, some of them aging, that affected several senior officials. In May, Barbock had to extend a trip to the Persian Gulf region by one day due to a damaged plane tire while in Qatar.
The plane that Burbock was using on her flight to Australia was involved 2018 incident This led to then-Chancellor Angela Merkel and then-Finance Minister Olaf Scholz making a delayed departure for the G-20 summit in Argentina on a commercial flight.
In this case, the electrical distribution box failed, affecting the radio system and the fuel system meaning the aircraft could not dump fuel. It turned back and landed at Cologne Bonn Airport with most of the fuel for the transatlantic flight on board.
The government has since ordered three new A350s, two of which are already in service.
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