Germany’s Angela Merkel to miss start of G20 after plane makes emergency landing and is greeted by fire engines on tarmac

  • The German Chancellor’s plane suffered multiple electronic malfunctions on its way to the G20 summit in Argentina, forcing the captain to land in Cologne
PUBLISHED : Friday, 30 November, 2018, 7:22am
UPDATED : Friday, 30 November, 2018, 7:28am

An Airbus A340 government aircraft carrying German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her delegation to the G20 summit was forced to make an emergency landing en route after suffering technical problems on Thursday evening, the captain said.

As a result, Merkel will miss the start of the summit in Argentina.

Around an hour into the trip from Berlin, the captain told passengers he had decided to land at Cologne-Bonn airport in northwestern Germany after the “malfunction of several electronic systems”.

The plane was met on the tarmac by fire engines, although the captain said there had been no security risk.

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It was not immediately clear when a new aircraft would arrive to continue the 15-hour flight to Argentina. However, “we will not be proceeding today,” Merkel’s spokeswoman said, meaning that the chancellor would miss the Friday opening of the summit.

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.

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Merkel, who had planned bilateral meetings with the presidents of the United States, China, Russia and India, was unlikely to arrive in Buenos Aires until Friday evening, German government sources said.

Merkel and other passengers initially remained on board the aircraft, named Konrad Adenauer after Germany’s first post-war chancellor, as mechanics inspected its brakes and several fire engines waited nearby.

Later, the delegation travelled by bus to a hotel in Bonn. Delegation sources said efforts were underway to organise new flights for Merkel and Finance Minister Olaf Scholz, possibly on a commercial carrier.

Additional reporting by Agence France-Presse