US Secretary of State Forced to Take Lengthy Road Trip After Boeing Jet Breaks Down in Europe


Secretary of State Antony Blinken was forced to make an impromptu road trip across much of Western Europe on Wednesday when his Boeing jet broke down in France.

The news is the latest headache for Boeing, which has seen its aircraft experience mechanical malfunctions that have terrified travelers all year.

In one instance last month, the wheels literally fell off during takeoff in San Francisco – at least one of them.

Bloomberg reported Blinken was in Paris, where he showed his support for Ukraine and also expressed a desire to see Israel’s war against Islamic terror contained to fighting only Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

But following a meeting with French leaders on Wednesday, Blinken was set to depart from Paris on his government-owned and U.S. Air Force-maintained Boeing jet for a meeting in Belgium with the country’s NATO allies.

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The jet was not fit for travel, Bloomberg reported, and so other accommodations had to be made.

According to the outlet, Blinken was forced to drive from the French capital to Brussels by car.

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The trip is roughly 200 miles.

According to Bloomberg, the issue with Blinken’s jet was vaguely reported to have been a “mechanical issue.”

It was unknown early Thursday morning whether the issue had been remedied and it was safe for the State Department head to make a flight back across the Atlantic Ocean to Washington.

Additionally, according to Bloomberg, the jet in question was reported to have been “an older model of the Boeing Co. 737.”

If the aircraft is dated, any issues with it likely are not related to those that have been reported on newer company models, such as the recently grounded Boeing 737 MAX.

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But the optics of a stranded American diplomat in Europe will do little to help Boeing out of its current issues, which have led to doubts about whether company-made planes are even safe to fly on.

2024 has been a headache for the iconic aircraft manufacturer as its fleet of jets has experienced problem after problem.

None of those has been fatal to date, but Boeing jets have been grounded for issues related to everything from landing gear to improperly sealed doors.

The MAX fleet was grounded for weeks to begin the year while even older models have experienced major issues.

As Newsweek noted, Wednesday’s mishap in Paris was not even the first time Blinken had been held up by a Boeing jet this calendar year.

The secretary of state was scheduled to depart from Switzerland and head back to the United States on Jan. 17 in a company airplane, but he was delayed when that aircraft experienced “an issue relating to a possible oxygen leak.”

Neither Boeing nor Blinken commented on Wednesday’s grounding of the State Department’s 737.

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Johnathan Jones has worked as a reporter, an editor, and producer in radio, television and digital media.
Johnathan "Kipp" Jones has worked as an editor and producer in radio and television. He is a proud husband and father.