Germany foreign minister canceled planned trips to Australia, New Zealand and Fiji due to..

Germany foreign minister canceled planned trips to Australia, New Zealand and Fiji due to.. - 94

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German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has cancelled her planned trip to Australia, New Zealand and Fiji after her government plane suffered a persistent technical problem that forced it to make two emergency landings in Abu Dhabi. The minister was on a mission to strengthen Germany’s ties with the Indo-Pacific region, which she said would “mark the world order of the 21st century decisively”.
Baerbock departed from Berlin on Sunday on an Airbus A340-300, one of the two aging aircrafts that serve as the government’s long-haul planes. She was scheduled to arrive in Canberra on Monday night, but a malfunction with the plane’s wing flaps caused it to turn back to Abu Dhabi after a refueling stop there. The plane underwent repairs and a test flight, and took off again for Australia on Monday night. However, the same problem occurred shortly after takeoff, and the plane had to return to the Emirati capital again.
On Tuesday morning, Baerbock announced on X, formerly known as Twitter, that she had to call off the trip because it was “logistically impossible” to continue without the defective plane. She said she had tried everything, but could not find alternative commercial flights that would fit her schedule. She expressed her regret and frustration over the incident, saying it was “more than annoying”.
The German Air Force said it would retire the A340-300 early, along with its sister aircraft, which have been plagued by reliability issues in recent years. In 2018, the same plane that Baerbock used had a technical fault that prevented then-Chancellor Angela Merkel from attending the opening of a G20 summit in Argentina. Earlier that year, another government plane was damaged by rodents in Indonesia, stranding then-Finance Minister Olaf Scholz.
The government has since ordered three new A350 jets, two of which are already in service. The Air Force said that with the A350s, it would have “robust and modern aircraft” for long-haul operations.
Baerbock did not specify how she would be returning to Germany. Her trip was supposed to be her first visit to the Pacific region as foreign minister, and part of Germany’s efforts to increase its presence and influence in the area. She had planned to meet with her counterparts and other officials in Australia, New Zealand and Fiji, as well as visit a climate change research center and a coral reef conservation project.
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