Lufthansa Technik has handed over the first of three new A350-900s to the German Armed Forces following the installation of a special transitional cabin for political/parliamentary flight operations. It is the first government aircraft of this type, and test flights and the military certification are due to be concluded over the coming weeks.
During the handover ceremony, which was conducted in Hamburg, Germany, according to current pandemic rules, Minister of Defence Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer took a first look at the future flagship of the Federal Ministry of Defence’s (BMVg) Special Air Mission Wing.
The factory-fresh aircraft, which was still on the civil register as D-AGAF, arrived at Lufthansa Technik at the beginning of May 2020. The new cabin features office and conference areas, adjoined by a multifunctional lounge area. The remaining space is available for delegations. Sister aircraft 10+01 and 10+02 are currently under construction, and are due to be fitted with a full governmental cabin by Lufthansa Technik in 2021, after which the 10+03’s transitional cabin will also be exchanged.
Lufthansa Technik noted that the effects of the global pandemic on the supply chain slightly delayed the planned delivery of this first aircraft. It will now take place in the coming weeks, during which the aircraft will receive its military certification and be prepared for a smooth entry into service at the BMVg’s Special Air Mission Wing, complete with crew training and various test flights.
“The exemplary procurement process is really something to be proud of,” said Kramp-Karrenbauer. “The decision to purchase the new A350 fleet was made just one and a half years ago. My thanks therefore go to all those involved in industry and German Armed Forces, because everyone really pulled together here. With its 25% lower fuel consumption – compared to older, comparable types – the ultra-modern A350 is future-oriented, and with the new fleet we are securing global mobility as an important part of the Federal Government’s ability to work. And with the addition of two more brand-new A350s, the mobility expected of an industrial nation like Germany is adequately ensured.”
“Today we are proud to present to the Federal Minister of Defence the new flagship of the Federal Government’s Special Air Mission Wing, the world’s very first A350 as a government aircraft,” said Dr Johannes Bussmann, chairman of the executive board of Lufthansa Technik. “The 10+03 and its two subsequent sister aircraft are a continuation of the successful tradition of supplying the German Armed Forces and having them as one of our best and most important customers.”