Electronics Failure Grounds German Chancellor Merkel’s A340 En Route to G20

By Nick Zazulia | November 30, 2018
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Angela Merkel

German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Hamburg, Germany in 2013. (Glyn Lowe PhotoWorks, CC)

An Airbus A340-300 carrying German Chancellor Angela Merkel had to make an emergency landing in Cologne, Germany, on Nov. 29 after an electronics failure while flying over the Netherlands.

The plane, which was operated by the German air force, had a communications systems failure, according to a military spokesman. German military blog reported that the avionics were transmitting a 7600 transponder code, which indicates radio failure. German news agency dpa first reported the unscheduled landing.

At a Friday press conference, an Air Force spokesman ruled out foul play as the cause of the malfunction, despite early reports the aircraft may have been tampered with.

The A340 was taking Merkel and finance minister Olaf Scholz to Buenos Aires, Argentina, for the Group of 20 summit that started Nov. 30. She resumed her travel on a different aircraft, but will reportedly arrive late due to the delay. Merkel had notably been scheduled to hold talks with U.S. President Donald Trump, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Argentinian President Mauricio Macri. It is unknown whether those talks will be rescheduled.

UPDATE: An Airbus spokesman declined comment except to say that the company would be ready to provide any requested assistance to the German government.

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