Merkel's plane lands in Cologne due to technical problem

Angela Merkel

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Saturday said global leaders had agreed at the G20 summit in Buenos Aires on the need to reform the world body that regulates worldwide trade disputes.

Merkel was on her way from Germany to the summit when the government's Airbus A340 made an unscheduled but safe landing at Cologne-Bonn airport late on November 29. The delay forced Merkel to miss the start of the G20 summit and a scheduled meeting with President Donald Trump.

The cause of the aircraft malfunction is being investigated but there's no evidence of anything criminal, the spokesman said.

In October, it was grounded in Indonesia after rodents gnawed through electrical cables during an annual meeting of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), German news agency dpa reported.

A senior journalist with the public national television ZDF said Merkel would spend Thursday night in Bonn. Passengers were held inside the plane for more than an hour.

From here, instead of flying her usual Airbus jet with bedroom suite, secure communications and an anti-missile system, she and her trimmed down entourage boarded an Iberia plane for the flight across the Atlantic.

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Her husband Joachim Sauer opted to skip the event.

The delay will complicate Merkel's schedule at a meeting where the G20 members expect to face hard negotiations on myriad issues.

German government planes, operated by the country's air force, have been plagued by technical problems in recent years.

The German leader plans to fly to Madrid early Friday and from there take a commercial flight to Argentina, accompanied by Finance Minister Olaf Scholz and a small delegation, according to an official.

It is not the first time the plane has suffered problems, the BBC reported.

The German armed forces, which complains of being overstretched and underfunded, has always been dogged by a series of equipment failures that have also grounded fighter jets and kept submarines and tanks out of service.

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