Luftwaffe’s Airbus 340, called “Konrad Adenauer”, carrying the German delegation to the G20 summit, suffered technical problems about an hour into the 15-hour trip to Buenos Aires.
Angela Merkel is currently travelling to the G20 summit aboard Iberia flight 6849, an Airbus A330 on a scheduled commercial flight from Madrid to Buenos Aires.
The German Chancellor and German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz were originally aboard the Luftwaffe Airbus A340-300 “16+01” that had take off as GAF918 from Berlin on Nov. 29 at 19.15LT. However, about an hour into the flight, as the aircraft was overflying the Netherlands, technical problems surfaced, forcing the aircrew to divert and land at Cologne-Bonn airport.
The government’s A340 successfully landed at 21.09LT, after 1h 55m of flight.
El vuelo oficial de Alemania tuvo un problema técnico.
Angela Merkel va a estar demorada
Fuerza Aérea Alemana 🇩🇪
Matricula 16+01 pic.twitter.com/hzVrmxlAAu
— Juanma Baiutti (@juanmab) November 29, 2018
According to the CNBC, the airplane captain told passengers he had decided to land after the “malfunction of several electronic systems”, but said there had been no security risk.
Noteworthy, the aircrew set the transponder to code 7600, that means “radio failure”. The aircraft did not dump too much fuel and the landing was reported as “heavy”. Once on the ground, mechanics inspected its brakes as several fire engines waited nearby. Passengers remained in the airplane for 70 minutes before they were disembarked.
Merkel and her delegation traveled by bus to a hotel in Bonn but were forced to change their plan to reach Buenos Aires: since the government’s other A340 and the A310 were not available, a GAF A319 flew them to Madrid, from where they boarded the Iberia flight that will bring them to Argentina.
Las evidencias 😅 pic.twitter.com/lY2Vd3e5fy
— Agustín Agüero (@AGUSAGUERO20) November 30, 2018
Interestingly, this is not the first time the same Airbus 340, named after German statesman Konrad Adenauer, experiences failures that force VIP to change their original plans: Scholz was reportely grounded olast month after an International Monetary Fund meeting in Indonesia. Back then, the issue involved damage caused by rodents, German media outlets reported.