Published: Sat, December 01, 2018
Global Media | By Garry Long

Merkel set for late G20 arrival after ’serious’ plane malfunction

Merkel set for late G20 arrival after ’serious’ plane malfunction

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. In 2015, the same aircraft was grounded due to a technical problem shortly before Merkel was to fly to New Delhi, forcing her to switch to a distinctly less luxurious A310 troop carrier.

Named Konrad Adenauer after Germany's first post-war chancellor, the Airbus A340-300 was met on the tarmac by fire engines, news agency DPA said.

Merkel's office says she and a small delegation, including the finance minister took a different government plane to Madrid on Friday morning, and then boarded a commercial flight to Buenos Aires. The delay clouded plans for her meeting with President Donald Trump at the summit, though German government spokeswoman Martina Fietz said the chancellor will try to reschedule all of her bilateral talks.

The air force spokesman said the plane had not discharged jet fuel before landing in Cologne, contrary to earlier reports.

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The German military blog Augengeradeaus reported that the plane's transponder was transmitting the code 7600 which refers to a radio malfunction.

Merkel will now travel to the G20 with a vastly slimmed-down delegation.

The delay will complicate Merkel's schedule at meeting where the G20 members already expect to face very hard negotiations on myriad issues.

Merkel was told of the need to turn around Thursday night while she was holding a background briefing for journalists accompanying her to Buenos Aires. She is unlikely to arrive until Friday evening and it was not immediately clear which meetings would have to be rescheduled.

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