Germany’s foreign minister cancels Pacific trip after plane malfunction

Berlin, Aug 15 (EFE).- Germany’s Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock Tuesday canceled her weeklong trip to the Pacific after her plane suffered a mid-journey breakdown.

Baerbock was stranded in the Gulf before she abandoned her trip to Australia, New Zealand, and Fiji following malfunctions in her Airbus A340-300.

“We tried everything, but it is no longer logistically possible to continue my Pacific trip. It is beyond annoying,” Baerbock wrote on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter.

The minister left for the Pacific on Monday but the plane suffered a fault after her first stopover in Abu Dhabi for refuelling.

The pilot noticed the fault soon after the takeoff and had to dump some 80 tons of fuel from the plane, flying over the desert and the sea before returning to the Abu Dhabi airport.

The fuel was released because the landing would have otherwise been dangerous.

After some 14 hours of repair, the crew hoped the trip could continue.

But the second attempt to take off for Canberra around 1 a.m. local time also failed.

The plane breakdown follows a series of Germany’s diplomacy-interrupting flight malfunctions.

In 2018, the then-chancellor Angela Merkel and her finance minister Olaf Scholz, now the head of government, were unable to travel on their scheduled plane for the G20 summit in Buenos Aires.

The plane had to land at the Bonn-Cologne airport shortly after taking off.

Merkel and her delegation then boarded a regular flight for the Argentine capital.

The incidents have triggered a media frenzy in Germany, raising questions about the maintenance of government planes after more than 20 years in service.

On Monday, Wolfgang Büchner, a government spokesperson, said that government planes regularly undergo strict inspections.

Buchner said the number of years in service was not the behind the problem. EFE


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