Take a peek at Germany's sleek new Airbus A350 "Air Force One"
While air travel has been significantly reduced over the last few weeks due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there's still some fun AvGeek news out there to be had.
Germany will soon receive its first new aircraft to ferry around the German head of state and other high-level officials, reports Live and Let's Fly. The aircraft, an Airbus A350-900, has just completed its fourth test flight out of Airbus facilities in Toulouse, France.
Germany has ordered three A350s which will replace two aging Airbus A340 aircraft. The German government proceeded with the purchase of the A350s after an A340 carrying German Chancellor Angela Merkel had to make an emergency landing in 2018. The estimated cost for the three aircraft, including special modifications, was $1.3 billion according to Aerotime Hub.
While the government aircraft that ferries around the US president is known as Air Force One, Germany will refer to this special bird as "Regierungsflieger," or Government Aviator.
Similar to Air Force One, the A350s will have special capabilities. Aerotelegraph reports the plane will have a "missile defense system, a large conference room, offices and military radio equipment."
The aircraft has a minimalist look, with the colors from the German flag wrapping around the middle of the plane. It's unclear what the interior of the aircraft will look like, but the A350 is designed to hold up to 350 passengers in standard commercial configurations.
When the purchase of the aircraft was announced, Airbus said the aircraft would be outfitted with ACJ’s Easyfit cabin-outfitting concept. A rendering from Airbus of a possible ACJ Easyfit layout is shown below:
All government aircraft, including the incoming A350s, are maintained by the Luftwaffe (the German Air Force).
The -900 is smaller than the A350-1000 by about 23 feet. The German government specifically ordered the ACJ350 XWB, which is the corporate version of the A350.
Airbus will deliver two more A350s to the German government in 2022.
Videospotter.de filmed the first test flight of the new aircraft when it took the skies on February 21: