“Merkel One” – German Air Force’s First Airbus A350 Delivered

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The German Air Force’s first Airbus A350 was delivered in Hamburg today. The aircraft is the first of three due to be delivered to the Air Force to replace its aging Airbus A340 aircraft.

German Air Force, Airbus A350, Merkel One
Lufthansa Technik today took delivery of the German Air Force’s first new Airbus A350. Photo: Lufthansa Technik

Over the last couple of years, it’s become clear that four-engined aircraft are no longer favored over their more efficient twinjet cousins. It seems that this is also the case when it comes to Germany’s executive transport aircraft. The Luftwaffe’s two aging A340s will be replaced with three shiny new Airbus A350s. The first of these new aircraft was delivered today.

First delivery

We first spotted the German Air Force’s Airbus A350 wearing its new colors towards the end of March. After rolling out of the paint shop at Airbus’ Hamburg plant, the aircraft was flown down to Toulouse, where it had remained since. However, on Tuesday, the plane was ferried back up to Airbus’ Hamburg facility.

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Today the shiny new Airbus A350 was delivered to Lufthansa Technik at the other Hamburg Airport. Lufthansa Technik will convert the aircraft into a VIP configuration fit for those highest in German office.

German Air Force, Airbus A350, Merkel One
The aircraft was delivered to Lufthansa Technik, who will fit a temporary VIP cabin. Photo: Lufthansa Technik

Temporary cabin

The cabin that is being fitted to the aircraft is not designed to last for a particularly long time. It seems to be a quick conversion to get the plane into operation as soon as possible. The new Airbus A350 is currently registered as D-AGAF. However, when it is transferred to the German Federal Government’s Special Air Mission Wing, it will be given the military registration 10+03.

The two remaining A350s are destined to be registered as 10+01 and 10+02. Seemingly the last aircraft was delivered first. While the government is awaiting its remaining A350s, this aircraft will fly with a temporary cabin.

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Its 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 Merkel herself.

german chancellor plane getty images
The A350s are replacing A340s, which themselves replaced an A310 in 2011. Photo: Getty Images

The remainder of the cabin will be used for those accompanying the officials. Lufthansa Technik pointed out that the seats will be generously spaced in the regular cabin area. Additionally, there will be a suitable number of toilets and galleys.

Reconfiguration

Once the remaining two A350s have been delivered and fitted, this example will return to Lufthansa Technik to be equipped with a fully-featured VIP cabin. Lufthansa Technik didn’t specify how long the full cabin fitting will take, or what it will include.

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It did, however, state that it won’t take long to fit the aircraft’s temporary cabin. Indeed, this first A350 is due to be ferrying German dignitaries around the world following its delivery to the government at the end of July. Hopefully, technical problems with government transport aircraft, that have forced Angela Merkel to fly with Iberia will become a thing of the past.

Aeroflot, Airbus A350, Paint Scheme
The first Airbus A350 is set to be delivered to the government by the end of July. Photo: Getty Images

Speaking of the aircraft, Kai-Stefan Röpke, Vice President VIP & Special Mission Aircraft Services at Lufthansa Technik said:

“Today we are of course particularly pleased to be able to… install the first government cabin in an Airbus A350. This is not only a first for our long-standing customer German Air Force or for Lufthansa Technik, but for the entire industry”

What do you make of the German government’s new Airbus A350? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

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