Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock failed on her second attempt to fly to Australia with the Air Force's readiness to fly. This was announced by the flight captain on Tuesday (local time), according to a DPA reporter on board the machine. 15 minutes after take-off at 1:00 a.m. local time (11:00 p.m./CEST), the Airbus A340-300 veered off course again and initially flew back towards Abu Dhabi. The machine climbed at the beginning, but didn't pick up any speed.
Before the Foreign Minister flew on, the flight captain had explained the cause of the first breakdown on her government plane. According to the captain, the cause of the breakdown was "a faulty pressure switch that measures the hydraulic pressure and then transmits it to the computer. This computer then controls the even extension and retraction of the landing flaps. This pressure switch is defective and then has the wrong one pressure specified." So that there is no asymmetrical wing position, the computer automatically blocks the flaps, according to the captain, according to a reporter from the German Press Agency on board the machine.
"And we had this situation this morning, you can only test it again on the ground and fix it. We identified this pressure switch as faulty," said the captain. There is a procedure from Airbus, “where you then deactivate this pressure switch and you can then continue to fly normally”.
According to information from her delegation, Baerbock wanted to take off around midnight with a delay of around 22 hours and land in Sydney in the evening. But nothing came of it (again). Baerbock originally wanted to land in the Australian capital Canberra on Monday evening around 10:30 p.m. local time (2:25 p.m. CEST).
There were also several breakdowns with the Airbus A340-300 with which Baerbock was now traveling to Australia. In November 2018, the then Chancellor Merkel had to turn back with the plane, which was still flying under the name "Konrad Adenauer" at the time, together with Scholz on the way to the G20 summit in Buenos Aires in Argentina. Among other things, the radio system of the machine, which still flies with the tactical number 16 01 today, failed.
In October 2018, rodents nibbled important cables of the "Konrad Adenauer" during a stop in Indonesia. At that time, Scholz returned as finance minister by scheduled flight from the meeting of the International Monetary Fund. In December 2016, then Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen (CDU) got stranded on her way to Mali. Because of a computer problem with her A340 in the Nigerian capital Abuja, she had to stay there overnight.
Baerbock's most recent flight to Australia was originally planned with the sister aircraft of the former "Konrad Adenauer", an almost identical A340-300. However, this one was also broken. A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Defense said in Berlin that the end of use of the A340-300 aircraft in question is scheduled for the end of September. The news should give Baerbock food for thought. It is quite possible that the discussion about the state of readiness to fly will pick up speed again.
Note: This article has been updated several times.