Safely landed: Government jet »16+01«
Photo: Henning Kaiser / dpa
After Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock's breakdown trip, the affected Airbus 340 has returned to Germany. The plane landed at Cologne/Bonn Airport.
"We are glad that our problem child has landed safely back in Cologne. Welcome home," the Air Force wrote on platform X (formerly Twitter) to a video of the landing. The government jet "16+01" took off from Abu Dhabi in the morning.
Baerbock had to cut short a trip to Australia, New Zealand and Fiji even before she reached her first destination. After a refueling stop in Abu Dhabi, the landing flaps on the A340 of the Bundeswehr's flight readiness could not be folded in after take-off. In another attempt, the same error occurred again, so that the Green politician ended the trip and returned to Germany on a scheduled flight.
In the days following the series of breakdowns, Luftwaffe experts and Lufthansa Technik experts had been looking for the cause of the problem. In the end, a sensor on the wings was replaced, which could have prevented the launch flaps from retracting. During tests on the ground, the blockage, known in aviation as a "flap lock", no longer occurred after the change.
According to SPIEGEL information, the plane will be checked again by Lufthansa Technik in the coming days. Since the Air Force wants to retire the machine, it is unlikely that it will be used again for government flights. A likely scenario is that the aircraft will be sold on the open market by the federally owned collecting society VEBEG.