Germany purchases new gov't planes to prevent delay

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BERLIN, April 9 (Xinhua) -- The German air force will receive three brand-new Airbus A350-900 long-haul aircraft, according to German media on Tuesday.

The Defense Ministry is expecting to spend 1.2 billion euros (1.35 billion U.S. dollars) on the machines, the German magazine Spiegel reported.

This would include 971 million euros' worth of interior equipment, such as VIP cabins, and 229 million euros for the self-protection system for the three aircraft, according to the proposal.

The German finance ministry justified the new acquisition with the technical problems of the past months, stating that "absences or late arrivals are causing lasting damaging to the national interest and the reputation of Germany".

"The federal government's ability to function, especially its ability to work, is essentially based on its ability to be mobile worldwide," according to the ministry.

Last November, Chancellor Angela Merkel missed a large part of the G20 summit in Buenos Aires due to problems with an Airbus A340.

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and Development Minister Gerd Mueller were also affected by the delays.

The speed of the orders of the three aircraft was justified by the ministry with a "very limited" supply of these types of aircrafts with appropriate special equipment in the next years and a "short-term and unexpected possibility of procurement" from Airbus.

The first A350 machine without VIP equipment is to be delivered in June 2020, according to the proposal. The other two aircraft, fully VIP-equipped, would be handed over to the German air force in 2022. Enditem

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