German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s plane was forced to make an unscheduled landing shortly after take-off in Cologne, Germany due to a technical glitch while she was on her way to the G20 summit in Argentina.
The captain of the plane decided to turn back while he was flying over the Netherlands, according to a report in Germany's DPA news agency. The captain announced to passengers that he had decided to turn back after the "malfunction of several electronic systems", Reuters news agency reported. The Chancellor and Germany’s finance minister were being accompanied by a sizeable delegation including journalists on the Airbus A340 government aircraft.
— CivMilAir ✈ (@CivMilAir) November 29, 2018
A military blog Augengeradeaus.net, wrote the aircraft was transmitting a 7600 transponder code, indicating a radio failure. But, the plane was met on the tarmac of Cologne airport by several emergency vehicles including firefighters.
Some German media reported that the captain decided to land at Cologne as it was the closest airport which could service the aircraft. Apparently this is not the first time the aircraft has been grounded. Just last month, the aircraft was damaged in Indonesia during the International Monetary Fund’s annual meeting as certain cables had been damaged by rodents.
This unscheduled delay in Merkel’s itinerary means the German Chancellor will miss the opening of the G20 summit which begins on Friday in Argentina’s capital city of Buenos Aires.
It is as yet unknown what changes have been made to her various meetings with other leaders of state. Some reports suggest that she will fly on a commercial airliner with a smaller delegation and land some time Friday.