Lufthansa Technik officially handed over the third and final Airbus A350 government aircraft to the German air force at the ILA Berlin air show on 5 June.

The aircraft, designated “10+3” and named for the first leader of the opposition in the West German Bundestag in 1949 Kurt Schumacher, had already been operating as a long-haul political and parliamentary air transport, after a decision was made to replace the air force’s two long-serving and ageing A340s several years ago.

“As the first aircraft was needed in service very quickly, Lufthansa Technik initially only equipped 10+03 with an interim cabin and handed it over to the then-minister of defence in August 2020,” the company says.


Source: Lufthansa Technik

Lufthansa Technik officially handed over the third and final Airbus A350 to the German air force on 5 June

The airframe then underwent an overhaul to install the permanent cabin. In addition to conference spaces for government officials, the aircraft also has 100 business-class and premium economy seats to carry other officials, media or dignitaries.

Deliveries of the first two aircraft – which included the full government cabin – took place in November 2022 and March 2023.

“The largest modernisation programme in the history of the special air mission wing can justifiably be called a herculean task,” says Soeren Stark, chief executive of Lufthansa Technik. “Four cabin refurbishments for a total of three widebody jets over a period of just four years, and some of them were still heavily influenced by the pandemic.”

“The German government now has the most modern government aircraft in the world,” he adds. 

The company invested more than one million work hours on the three aircraft in the past five years, Stark says. “Not only the aircraft but also the cabin placed new standards on efficiency and high-quality functionality.”

The A350 will be primarily utilised for transportation of German leaders and officials, but it can also be quickly transformed into a flying intensive care unit for medical evacuations, the company says. 

“Our A350 also has the ability to protect itself, and is, so to say, our own Air Force One,” adds Brigadier General Frank Graefe, department head for operations and exercises at the Air Force Command.

Earlier in the day, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced a surprise order for 20 more Eurofighter combat aircraft for the country’s air force. The new aircraft are in addition to the 38 examples already under contract via Berlin’s Project Quadriga acquisition.