Annalena Baerbock on her way to the plane (on April 18 in Tokyo)
Soeren Stache / dpa
Once again, there has been a plane breakdown for Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock. After a stopover to refuel in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, the Green politician had to cancel her flight to Australia, New Zealand and Fiji early Monday morning for a week-long trip to Australia, New Zealand and Fiji.
A spokesman for the Federal Foreign Office said on board: "Due to a mechanical problem, we have to return to Abu Dhabi for security reasons. The options for further travel planning are currently being clarified.«
The plane was still in the air at around 4:30 a.m. local time (2:30 a.m. CEST) with Baerbock and her delegation on board. In order to land safely in Abu Dhabi, fuel had to be drained first. The captain had previously informed via the on-board loudspeaker that there were problems with the retraction of the landing flaps.
The Green politician had left on Sunday for a week-long trip to the Pacific region, where she wanted to hold political talks in Australia, New Zealand and Fiji.
It is not the first plane breakdown for the minister – and not even the first in the Gulf region. In May, the planned return trip from the Qatari capital Doha to Berlin had to be postponed by at least two hours due to a defect in its Luftwaffe Airbus.
Baerbock's journey to the Arabian Peninsula had already been delayed considerably at the time due to a broken plane. The Air Force had to provide a new aircraft because the government Airbus could not leave as planned due to a breakdown. As a result, the minister arrived in the Saudi Arabian port city of Jeddah more than two hours late.
In 2019, the German government ordered a total of three new A350 government aircraft after the old Airbus fleet had been conspicuous by breakdowns for years. Two of the machines equipped with special equipment have already been delivered. The Ministry of Defense put the total cost at 1.2 billion euros.