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Foreign Minister Baerbock with breakdown plane A340, registration 16+01

Photo: Michael Kappeler / dpa

Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock had vehemently campaigned for the last remaining A340 long-haul jet to remain in the fleet of government aircraft – in vain.

The A340 aircraft with the registration 16+01 will be retired immediately, despite the opposition of the Green politician.

After tough talks between the ministries that have access to the German government's so-called White Fleet, it was agreed last week to immediately decommission the aging Airbus 340 with the registration 16+01, according to SPIEGEL information.

Baerbock's ministry had been stubbornly pushing for weeks to keep the breakdown-prone A340 in operation, although she herself recently had to cancel a trip to Australia due to technical problems with the plane.

In August, Baerbock and her delegation were stranded in Abu Dhabi. Twice the crew tried to continue the flight towards Australia, twice they had to dump around 80 tons of kerosene in the air and return again. The reason for this was that the wing flaps, which are used to enlarge the wings during take-off and landing in order to generate enough lift even at lower speeds, could not be retracted. Subsequently, technicians examined the machine for days, installed spare parts - and brought them back to Germany without any problems.

The Foreign Office is concerned that after the retirement of the last A340, the minister may no longer have access to the government's large VIP jets on her regular trips abroad. Background: The only two A350 long-haul aircraft currently available are usually occupied by the Federal Chancellor or the Federal President.

In such a case, Baerbock would have to travel with smaller jets – or fall back on scheduled connections, as in August, on her involuntary return from Abu Dhabi.