Another reason why I am so fed up with politics.
Everybody knows that going by plane is particularly detrimental to the environment and that it is a huge driver for the climate catastrophe.
(Consequently,) the German Armed Forces have a service for government (Flugbereitschaft). The army planes used to transport soldiers and material.
Today the planes bring politicians (and I presume also army command and generals) to places where they think they absolutely need to go.
About most of the technological Armed Forces sectors, you hear that they, too, are in miserable condition. We read of failures and almost-accidents all the time. A short time ago, a Global 5.000 (by Bombardier) had become unstable shortly before departure and had to turn around for an emergency landing. At least, both wings touched the ground.
Interestingly, it was exactly this plane that was supposed to take our Federal President (Bundespräsident) from Berlin to Stuttgart, where he was to open the BuGa at Heilbronn on April, 17th.
Now you can ask: how important is the BuGa and does our Federal President really need to talk at its opening. After all, there are quite a few more important tasks where he might use his energy to promote things. Besides, if the BuGa calls him, you can ask if he really needs to have a special jet to get there.
I found five hours and 47 minutes as the shortest train connection between Berlin and Heilbronn. That is not at all bad. It might be interesting to find out how long the state plane takes. Including changes, etc.
However, if you take the train, you will need to expect that the train will most likely not be on time. But then, maybe the DB can manage to be on schedule if an important state representative, such as the Federal President, is on board? It probably does not happen very often.
If you take the direct route, then the distance between Berlin and Heilbronn is 478 kilometres. In China (or even in France), a train will do this distance in 2-3 hours.
We have not yet reached that stage. If you take an ICE from Munich to Hamburg (781 kilometres), you will need five hours and 35 minutes. The TGV from Paris to Marseille (765 kilometres) only takes three hours and eleven minutes ( source: Spiegel).
That is a difference of more than two hours for a little more than 750 km. Looking at this fact, it might be appropriate to send a question to the German Ministry of Transportation and ask them how something like this could happen. Allegedly, the situation is no better on motorways – although they have a general speed limit in France.
Regardless, one might get the idea to travel long distance in Germany by train, rather than by plane. And if the train connection is so bad that it is really not acceptable, then you might get the idea to take a regular plane that flies “anyway”, instead of a special one.
Mind you, Frank-Walter Steinmeier is basically considered a halfway decent politician. Even if, for me, the secret agreements they seem to have come to during his election was irritating. And besides, his party is the SPD. But perhaps he became Federal President because he needed to be pushed aside by the SPD.
Wouldn’t it be nice if a politician who has been voted into an important position were to also think about the future of this planet? And maybe he could give a symbolic statement by not going places where it is unnecessary or by not taking a separate plane where regular planes fly? That would be a good way to prove his integrity.
I would also like to see a change of paradigm at the German Air Force Flugbereitschaft. When confronted with criticism, the responsible people say that all problems are solved because they already ordered three new planes from Airbus.
The plane that almost crashed was less than ten years old. I read that, for a plane, this is extremely young. Because your average plane lives a lot longer than that. This means that the German Air Force Flugbereitschaft invests now because they assume they will have to fly politicians and generals for quite a few more decades. I wonder what the children who protest for the planet on Fridays would have to say about this.
For me (and probably also for future young voters), it gets harder and harder to vote.
I only want to give my vote to people who do not use government planes as a matter of course and look childishly happy if they board a state limousine (even in front of cameras) as soon as they have become important. Because at long last they have reached their goal and are rewarded for their decades of hard work as party soldiers.
I would prefer to give my vote to people who, regardless of their feudalist position, still use public transport and/or their bikes when travelling.
Mind you, in my perception, most politicians consider it beyond their human dignity to use public transportation. Just as it is against all common sense to have a speed limit on motorways. People with this definition of human dignity and common sense will definitely not be elected by me.
In a nutshell:
I would wish for the first representative of the state that he shows how he takes the problems of the people seriously by acting responsible and by setting a positive example. Instead of going on business trips in a separate plane. If he absolutely has to fly because the place where he absolutely needs to go is on a different continent, then he is welcome to travel business class on a regular flight. But why does he need his own plane? That sounds like Führersonderzugs?
And in my personal life, I really want to continue to improve my own flying habits. It has been a long time since I last travelled in Germany by plane. In the past, I had too many long-distance flights. I will reduce them considerably in 2019. And I will try to establish a tendency that points towards zero. And whenever I go by bike, I will limit my routes to Bavaria, Germany and the neighbouring countries. Basically, this means I will go places that I can reach by train. Which means: no such things as Cuba.
(Translated by EG)