The German Air Force today took delivery of its first Airbus A350. The aircraft was delivered by Lufthansa Technik, who had been installing its VIP configuration interior. As such, Germany has become the first nation to operate a governmental Airbus A350.
The German Air Force is expecting a total of three Airbus A350s that will be used for government travel. Earlier this year, Lufthansa Technik took delivery of the first of the three aircraft without an interior fitted. The company has now installed a temporary interior that will be replaced once the other two planes have arrived.
A grand delivery
This morning an event was held in Hamburg to mark the handing over of the first Airbus A350 to the German Bundeswehr. The aircraft, registered as 10+03, will be used to ferry German politicians such as Angela Merkel around the world.
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A. Kramp-Karrenbauer is the German Defence Minister. She was on hand at the ceremony to take delivery of the aircraft in Hamburg earlier today. According to the Ministry of Defence, the country is now the First Nation to operate the aircraft. Indeed, the plane is the only A350 not being used in commercial airline service.
“The decision to purchase the new A350 fleet was made just 1.5 years ago. My thanks therefore go to all those involved in industry and German Armed Forces, because everyone really pulled together here… with the addition of two more brand-new A350s, the mobility expected of an industrial nation like Germany is adequately ensured.”
The aircraft isn’t quite ready to enter into service just yet. According to Lufthansa Technik, it would now undergo several test flights and military certification with the German armed forces.
The first of three
Today’s delivery is the first of three bound for the German armed forces. Lufthansa Technik has fitted the aircraft with a temporary cabin to allow its immediate use. Once the other two jets have been delivered, it will be sent back to have a new cabin interior fitted. As this will be the last aircraft to be ‘completed,’ it is registered as 10+03.
The remaining two aircraft will be registered as 10+01 and 10+02. These two aircraft are currently under construction, with Lufthansa Technik expected to install their full VIP cabin next year. Recently Lufthansa Technic also placed an order for two Airbus A321LRs to go to the German Air Force.
The aircraft’s temporary cabin will contain offices and conference areas. These will be connected to a multifunctional lounge area. This space is likely to be used by high ranking government officials such as Angela Merkel herself. However, if necessary, the aircraft can be converted for military transport.
Why the Airbus A350?
But why is the German Government taking delivery of these new Airbus A350 aircraft? Quite simply, the old aircraft are no longer performing to the required standard. Before 10+03 entering service, an Airbus A340 was ferrying high profile German ministers around the world. However, recently it has seen several high profile on the ground incidents.
The technical problems with the Airbus A340 have even affected Angela Merkel herself. In December 2018, Simple Flying reported the story of a man who ended up sat next to Merkel in Iberia’s business class. She had swapped onto the Spanish flag carrier after a radio problem had forced the A340-300 known as ‘Konrad Adenauer’ to divert to Cologne Bonn Airport.
What do you make of the new Airbus A350? Let us know what you think and why in the comments!