Despite the stereotype of punctuality, German government planes have an embarrassing track record of on-time performance and reliability. The latest incident has embarrassed Lufthansa and left many scratching their heads.
Beyond its commercial flying, Lufthansa has a division that maintains aircraft used by government officials in Germany. This division, called Lufthansa Bombardier Aviation Services (LBAS), contracts with the German government to service some of the aircraft used by elected officials on select short-haul and intercontinental routes.
But as reported by Deutsche Welle, a government plane recently almost crashed following a maintenance check.
The Bombardier Global 5000 had been at Berlin Schönefeld Airport for comprehensive maintenance and suffered a malfunction shortly after takeoff on April 16. During an uncontrolled landing, both of the plane’s wings touched the runway.
No passengers were on board, but the plane had been scheduled to fly German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier to Stuttgart the next day.
Lufthansa, of course, is taking the issue “very seriously” and will “thoroughly review” the work performed on the aircraft. The German Air Force is also performing an investigation.
New A350s Coming
For a country in which all trains run on time (hah…) the government’s fleet of 14 aircraft has recently encountered a number of issues.
- December – Chancellor Angela Merkel arrived late to the G20 in Buenos Aires after her aircraft was forced to divert to Cologne.
- January – President Frank-Walter Steinmeier arrived late in Ethiopia after encountering mechanical issues in Berlin.
- February – German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas was stranded in Mali after encountering mechanical issues prohibiting his A319 from departing.
Thus, the German government recently ordered three A350s. The first is set to arrive next year.
Lufthansa has refused to publicly comment on its investigation beyond the few words above. Don’t expect a public report either. We may never know exactly what occurred that nearly led to a crash.