GERMANY IS to acquire three new long-haul Airbus A350-900 airliners with a VIP cabin configuration to strengthen the Luftwaffe VIP fleet. The procurement was formally given the go-ahead by parliament on April 10 and the Budget Committee of the Bundestag approved financing for the aircraft the following day. The total cost of the purchase will be around € 1.2 billion, including outfitting the aircraft with their VIP cabins, a self-protection system, spare parts, equipment for maintenance and servicing and initial personnel training. The first aircraft are expected to be delivered around June 2020, with the remaining two due to follow in 2022.
The new aircraft will strengthen Luftwaffe long-haul capacity and ultimately replace older aircraft in the fleet in the longer term. Once all three are in service, two will replace the pair of A340-300s currently in operation with the Flugbereitschaft Bundesministerium der Verteidigung (FBS BMVg – Federal Ministry of Defence Special Air Wing) at Köln Wahn, while the third will provide much-needed additional capacity. A formal contract with Lufthansa Technik is expected to be signed this month.
They will be delivered in a multi-role configuration. In addition to their VIP role, transporting the Federal President, Chancellor and other Government officials, they will be available for medical evacuation missions, transport the sick, wounded and other casualties when required. They will also be used for routine military personnel and cargo transport and for crisis management operations in support of Bundeswehr operations.