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

Hugh Fox
December 2, 2018

German Chancellor Angela Merkel will miss the opening of the G20 summit in Argentina after her plane was forced to land shortly after leaving Berlin.

It was met on the tarmac by fire engines, DPA said, adding that the captain told the passengers the plane would have to turn back as a technical problem was disrupting several electrical systems.

Merkel called the incident a "serious malfunction".

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She was due to arrive in Buenos Aires at around 2100 GMT - without her husband Joachim Sauer, who after the plane troubles opted to skip the event.

The delay will complicate Merkel's schedule at the two-day meeting in Argentina, where the Group of 20 industrialised countries already expect to face "very, very difficult" negotiations on myriad issues.

"Luckily, we had an excellent crew and the most experienced pilot of the special air mission wing", Merkel said.

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In this November 29, 2018 photo German chancellor Angela Merkel leaves the government Airbus which was grounded after a technical failure at the airport in Cologne, western Germany, delaying Merkel's arrival at the G20 summit in Buenos Aires.

The German military blog Augengeradeaus reported that the plane's transponder was transmitting the code 7600 which refers to a radio malfunction. Later, they boarded another plane to Madrid.

Putin warmly welcomed Merkel and asked her about her plans for the summit. She is due to arrive in time for the summit leaders' dinner on Friday.

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Merkel planned to meet with Trump, President Xi Jinping of China and Argentine President Maruricio Macri. German news agency dpa first reported the unscheduled landing.

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