The Airbus A340-300 owned by the German Government, known as the Merkel One after many years of use by former Chancellor Angela Merkel, is being put to auction after its retirement earlier this year. 

The aircraft, officially known as the Konrad Adenauer after the country’s first chancellor after WWII, will be sold by trust company Vebeg on behalf of the Bundeswehr, the German armed forces, in January 2024. 

Advance notice of the sale was posted on the state-owned Vebeg’s website with the company saying it will be happy to accept expressions of interest from mid-January. 

Built in 1999, the Merkel One is the last of Germany’s government-owned A340s, which have been flying politicians since 2011. They were first operated as passenger aircraft by Lufthansa, but were replaced by newer A350s. 

The last two A340s, registered as 16+01 and 16+02, were quickly pulled from service earlier this year after the country’s foreign minister Annalena Baerbock was forced to cancel a trip to Oceania in August. The 16+01 plane was forced to turn around twice due to mechanical faults. 

According to reports, the 16+02, known as the Theodor Heuss, was subsequently sold to an unknown buyer in the US, flying to Roswell, New Mexico in late September. 

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Though the planes are technically operated by the Bundeswehr, they are specifically owned by the Flugbereitschaft, or Executive Transport Wing, of the Federal Ministry of Defence.