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German minister calls for end to government plane breakdowns

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BERLIN (AP) — Germany’s development minister is demanding an end to breakdowns on government planes after a technical problem forced him to cancel a visit to Namibia.

Germany’s air force operates the government fleet of 14 Airbus and Bombardier planes. Technical faults have been frequent over the years. On Monday, Development Minister Gerd Mueller’s Bombardier Global 5000 couldn’t leave Malawi. He took a commercial flight to Zambia but had to cancel appointments in Namibia.

Mueller told German news agency dpa in comments published Thursday the breakdowns have an “enormously negative symbolic effect for Germany as a high-tech country.”

In November, Chancellor Angela Merkel arrived late at the Group of 20 summit in Argentina after a problem with her Airbus A340 forced the plane to turn back. Merkel then took a commercial flight.

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