German Air Force Receives Final A350 Government Aircraft at ILA Berlin
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By The Smartencyclopedia Staff Writer with Agencies

Berlin, June 5, 2024 — In a ceremonial handover at the ILA Berlin Air Show, Lufthansa Technik delivered the third and final Airbus A350 government aircraft to the German Federal Ministry of Defense’s Special Air Mission Wing. The aircraft, with registration 10+03 and named “Kurt Schumacher,” was officially put into service by Secretary of State for Defense Nils Hilmer.

This milestone marks the completion of the largest modernization program in the history of the Special Air Mission Wing, involving four cabin modifications for three wide-body jets. Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, Lufthansa Technik delivered all aircraft on time and within budget.

“The largest modernization program in the history of the Special Air Mission Wing can justifiably be called a Herculean task. Four cabin refurbishments for a total of three wide-body jets over just four years, and some of them were still heavily influenced by the pandemic,” explained Soeren Stark, Chief Executive Officer of Lufthansa Technik AG. “I am all the more proud of our team, which mastered this task with flying colors, and completely within the estimated cost and time frame. I take my hat off to this achievement and thank everyone who was involved.”

The first handover of 10+03 occurred shortly after the decision to replace the German Air Force’s two aging Airbus A340s with three new A350s for long-haul transport. Due to urgent need, 10+03 was initially equipped with an interim cabin and handed over to the Minister of Defense in August 2020. The subsequent A350 deliveries, with fully outfitted government cabins, included 10+01 “Konrad Adenauer” in November 2022 and 10+02 “Theodor Heuss” in March 2023. “Kurt Schumacher” returned to Lufthansa Technik’s Hamburg VIP Completion Center for its final cabin installation, completed recently.

The A350 “Kurt Schumacher” initially sported the old color scheme of the “white fleet.” However, just in time for the delivery ceremony, its livery was updated to match the modern look of its sister aircraft, featuring new “Bundes Sans” font lettering and wingtips painted in the colors of the German flag.

With the delivery of 10+03, the Special Air Mission Wing’s long-haul fleet is now uniformly modernized both externally and internally, except for small unique accents reflecting the namesakes of the aircraft. These include various artistic and historical elements that commemorate figures such as Konrad Adenauer, Theodor Heuss, and Kurt Schumacher.

Visitors can view the Airbus A350 “Kurt Schumacher” on static display at the ILA Berlin Air Show until Thursday evening.

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