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Germany has taken delivery of its first fully equipped government Airbus A350

Earlier, Lufthansa Technik handed over the first complete Airbus A350 to the German armed forces for use as a VIP transport aircraft. The aircraft, named Konrad Adenauer after the former German chancellor, is an A350-900 and is the first of three to be fitted out for the government.

The christening ceremony was attended by the grandson of Germany’s first Chancellor, Konrad Paul Karl Adenauer, as well as various other dignitaries and executives from the armed forces, Lufthansa Technik and others.

Soeren Stark, CEO of Lufthansa Technik, was also at the ceremony and commented on the handover, stating:

Lufthansa Technik worked carefully on the new Konrad Adenauer for more than a year. The cabin is divided into various functional areas for political-parliamentary operations and has separate areas for private meetings, round tables and other activities.

The rest of the space on the plane was given to delegations that usually travel with VIPs. These spaces have generous seating arrangements, bathrooms and modern kitchen facilities.

But it’s not just the interior that has undergone a change. Eagle-eyed readers have already noticed subtle changes to the plane’s livery, with a new “Bundes Sans” font, as well as black, red and gold wingtips to reflect Germany’s national colours.

In addition to visible modifications, the jet will be equipped with state-of-the-art communication and radar technology. It may also have defense systems on board, but that’s something governments like to keep tightly under wraps. In total, the aircraft will seat around 120 people and will be able to fly incredible distances – something the Luftwaffe did in 2020 when it took a 10+03 non-stop trip from Cologne to Canberra.

The first A350-900 was delivered to the German Air Force in August 2020 and entered service with the country in January 2021. However, this aircraft, registered 10+03 and named Kurt Schumacher, was not fully equipped for its VIP duties. Instead, it was released with temporary equipment to provide more efficient and reliable transport for high-ranking members of the government.

Previously, the likes of Angela Merkel relied on a pair of aging A340s, one of which is also christened Konrad Adenauer and the other named Theodor Heuss. But these older aircraft were often ‘technological’ and saw VIPs delayed or even having to fly commercial to have meetings.

To replace the quadjets, the German government ordered a total of three Airbus A350s, all of which have now been delivered. However, adopting the jets is only the first stage, with Lufthansa Technik requiring extensive interior fit-out to make them fit for purpose.

As such, 10+01 was completed and 10+02 – Theodor Heuss – will be next. The last A350 in the works is the 10+03, a jet that has already flown to Germany with an intermediate space. Configuration of the new Konrad Adenauer took from April 2021 to September 2022, so it will probably be 2023 before Theodor Heuss is ready to fly.

However, Lufthansa Technik says it is already well under way and that a full cabin overhaul is at an ‘advanced stage’. The last A350, 10+03, will soon arrive in Hamburg to begin the process of installing a full government cabin.

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