The first of three new Airbus A350-900s was officially handed over to the German Armed Forces, Lufthansa Technik announced on Thursday.
“This is the world’s first government aircraft of this type and thus also the world’s first Airbus A350 not to be used in commercial airline service,” Lufthansa Technik, a subsidiary of the German airline Lufthansa, said in a statement.
“The exemplary procurement process is really something to be proud of,” Minister of Defense Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer said in the statement. “The decision to purchase the new A350 fleet was made only one and a half years ago.”
Kramp-Karrenbauer took a first look at the “future flagship” of the ministry’s Special Air Mission Wing in Hamburg during a handover ceremony, the statement noted.
Effects of the global COVID-19 pandemic on supply chains had “slightly delayed the planned delivery” of the aircraft to the German Armed Forces, according to Lufthansa Technik.
During the next weeks, the new wide-body aircraft will receive its military certification and various test flights would take place. According to Lufthansa Technik, the two sister planes are still under construction.
In total, the three aircraft cost around 1.2 billion euros (1.4 billion U.S. dollars), the Ministry of Defense announced last year.