In service for 20 years, it was time for the old A340s to “hang up their boots” and make room for three ultra-modern Airbus A350s, the first of which went into service on Friday (9). Their mission: to transport VVIP government figures such as Chancellor Angela Merkel.
According to Aviacionline, the first A350 VVIP with the marking 10 + 03 of the German Air Force left Lufthansa Technik in Hamburg to join the long-haul Bundeswehr fleet from Cologne. The moment was also recorded by the Lufthansa maintenance team working on the aircraft’s internal configuration process, as shown in this Twitter post.
After the official handover to @AKK in August, the world’s first government @Airbus A350 stayed in HAM for military certification and testing. Today it left our premises to soon be put into service with @Team_Luftwaffe. Always happy landings, 10 + 03! #keepyouflying @BaainBw pic.twitter.com/3dzjPJxi8g
– Lufthansa Technik (@LHTechnik) October 9, 2020
Lieutenant Colonel Jens B., one of the most experienced pilots and flight instructor of the Federal Ministry of Defense, flew the aircraft as commander to Cologne. He was one of the first pilots to be trained for the new type of aircraft. He was enthusiastic: “The A350 is the best airplane that I have ever flown. It flies faster, higher, further and is the most modern and economical aircraft in the fleet. “
“With this Airbus A350, the Federal Ministry of Defense now has an aircraft of the most modern generation. This is the first Airbus A350 to be used as a government aircraft and the first to be modified for these functions. This means that the air traffic for high-ranking representatives of the state and the government can be carried out more efficiently, more reliably, but also with lower emissions ”, explains the technical director of the government, Stefan Rauscher.
The tasks of the A350 mainly consist of the transport of political personnel from the parliamentary sector and the transport of soldiers. In the future, it will also be possible to transport the wounded and sick to the intensive care unit. The aim is to start state flight operations by the end of 2020.
Replacement of the A340 in 2022
The Airbus A350-900 is a twin-engine, long-range, wide-body aircraft. It is the aircraft with the highest percentage of carbon fiber connections in the fuselage and wing structure that flies today.
The range is approx. 15,000 kilometers at a cruising speed of approx. 910 kilometers per hour. The A350 can carry up to 132 passengers. In the rear there are seats for 76 passengers, in the middle area there are seats in Business Class for 30 passengers and in the front area there is the VIP area. At the front it is adapted for functions of the head of state, but not yet in a final configuration.
In the coming months, the next two A350s with the records 10 + 01 and 10 + 02 will also leave the plant in Toulouse for Lufthansa Technik in Hamburg, where the necessary changes will be made to the intended function.
In the front area, these next two jets get the most VIP equipment in the cabin, conference room and private office, similar to the A340 configuration. After that, 10 + 03 returns to the workshops where it gets the same VIP customization in its front area. The Airbus A350 is expected to completely replace the current A340 from 2022.
Aviacionline partner story