The first complete Airbus A350 was delivered to the German Armed Forces earlier today (Wednesday, 16/11/2022) by Lufthansa Technik for use as a VIP transport aircraft. The aircraft, which is an A350-900 and the first of three that will be furnished for the government, is named Konrad Adenauer in honor of the former chancellor of Germany.
Konrad Paul Karl Adenauer, the grandson of Germany’s first Federal Chancellor, along with other dignitaries and leaders from the armed forces, Lufthansa Technik, and other organizations, attended the christening ceremony.
At the ceremony, Soeren Stark, CEO of Lufthansa Technik, offered his feelings on the handover, saying:
“The aircraft christened today is not the first Airbus A350 handed over by us to the German Armed Forces, yet it bears all the insignia of a new flagship with the registration number 10+01 and the history-steeped name Konrad Adenauer. This great honor is also reflected in the new government cabin we installed, which sets new standards with state-of-the-art technology and high functionality as well as cost efficiency.“Soeren Stark, CEO of Lufthansa Technik
What’s on this A350?
Lufthansa Technik has diligently worked on the new Konrad Adenauer for well over a year. The cabin has separate spaces for private meetings, roundtable discussions, and other activities, as well as various functional areas for political and parliamentary operations. The delegations that usually travel with VIPs have been given the rest of the aircraft. These spaces feature spacious seating areas, restrooms, and cutting-edge galley appliances.
But more than just the interior has been updated. Readers with keen eyes may have already noticed the aircraft’s subtle livery changes, including new lettering in the “Bundes Sans” font and black, red, and gold wingtips that reflect Germany’s flag.
In addition to the visible changes, the jet will be outfitted with cutting-edge communications and radar technology. It could also have defensive systems on board, but that’s the kind of thing governments like to keep under wraps. Overall, the aircraft will seat around 120 people and be capable of flying incredible distances, as demonstrated by the Luftwaffe’s nonstop flight from Cologne to Canberra in 2020.
Second of its kind, but the first with a complete VIP cabin
The first A350-900 arrived at the German Air Force in August 2020 and entered service in January 2021. This aircraft registered 10+03 and named Kurt Schumacher, however, has not been fully equipped for VIP duties. Instead, temporary outfitting was rushed through in order to provide more efficient and reliable transportation for senior government officials.
In the past, politicians like Angela Merkel relied on two outdated A340s, one of which is also named Konrad Adenauer and the other Theodor Heuss. However, these older aircraft frequently “went tech,” causing VIPs to miss their meetings or even have to take a commercial flight.
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The German government ordered a total of three Airbus A350s, all of which have now been delivered, to replace the quad jets. Although the jets have been accepted, Lufthansa Technik still needs to extensively outfit the interiors of the aircraft in order to make them functional. As a result, 10+01 is finished, and 10+02, Theodor Heuss, is up next. 10+03, the A350 that has already been operating for Germany with a makeshift interior, is the last A350 to be worked on. The configuration of the new Konrad Adenauer took place between April 2021 and September 2022, so it’s possible that Theodor Heuss won’t be ready for takeoff until 2023.
However, the complete cabin modification is already well underway and is in an “advanced stage,” according to Lufthansa Technik. The final A350, 10+03, will arrive in Hamburg soon after, and the full governmental cabin will be installed shortly after.