German Chancellor Angela Merkel was expected to fly out to the G20 summit in Argentina on Friday after her original flight was forced to make an emergency landing in Cologne due to a technical problem.
“We will not be proceeding today,” Merkel’s spokeswoman told AFP on Thursday night.
According to tweets by German journalists on board the Airbus A340, named Konrad Adenauer after Germany’s first post-war chancellor, Merkel will leave for Madrid on Friday and head on a commercial flight for Buenos Aires with a
slimmed down delegation.
The Chancellery did not confirm these reports.
A senior journalist with the public national television ZDF said Merkel would spend Thursday night in Bonn.
The plane turned back from the Netherlands and landed in Cologne because it was the only base with a replacement aircraft, the DPA news agency said.
The aircraft had taken off from Berlin at 7 p.m. and landed in Cologne around 8.30 p.m. Passengers had to wait on the plane for around 70 minutes, eyewitnesses said.
It was met on the tarmac by fire engines, DPA said, adding that the captain told the passengers the plane would have to turn back as a technical problem was disrupting several electrical systems.
The picture shows the Konrad Adenauer aircraft’s changed route.
Germany’s air force on Friday was investigating a serious technical mishap on Chancellor Angela Merkel’s plane that forced an emergency landing and delayed her arrival at the G20 summit by more than 12 hours.
The latest embarrassing glitch for the German military forced Merkel to instead take a commercial flight to Buenos Aires with a vastly reduced delegation and miss scheduled talks with several world leaders.
Yet this is not the first time in recent history that a high-profile German politician has been set back by plane troubles.
In October, Finance Minister Olaf Scholz had to take a commercial flight home from a summit in Bali, Indonesia after rats had chewed through cables of the Konrad Adenauer, disabling the aircraft for days.
In June, problems with the hydraulics system on the same plane forced President Frank-Walter Steinmeier to take an alternative aircraft to Minsk.
And in 2015, technical problems with the Konrad Adenauer forced Merkel and five ministers to make a flight to India on a A310 military troop transporter.
The armed forces, which complains of being overstretched and underfunded, has long been dogged by a series of equipment failures that have also grounded fighter jets and kept submarines and tanks out of service.
Its G36 assault rifle became the butt of jokes after reports it had trouble firing straight at high temperatures, and is being phased out.
In other setbacks of recent years, German Tornado surveillance aircraft scrapped night missions because of a glare problem involving cockpit displays and pilots’ goggles.
Last year Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen took an Airbus A400M to Lithuania to show off the new transport aircraft, but engine trouble grounded it and forced her to return home on a decades-old Transall C-160 transporter.