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More than just a plane: the Landshut returns to Germany

27.07.2017 - Article

Foreign Minister Gabriel brings the plane back to Germany 40 years after its hijacking in what became known as the German Autumn.

Foreign Minister Gabriel brings the plane back to Germany 40 years after its hijacking in what became known as the German Autumn.

The Landshut as hijacked by terrorists in 1977
The Landshut as hijacked by terrorists in 1977© dpa

The Federal Foreign Office is bringing the Landshut, an ex-Lufthansa aircraft, home to Germany. The plane, which has been decommissioned and is currently in Brazil, was purchased back in May. After its return, the aircraft will be displayed on the grounds of the Aviation and Aerospace Museum in Friedrichshafen. The Landshut will be collected from an airfield near the Brazilian town of Fortaleza and flown back to Germany in a transport plane. Lufthansa experts will then restore the aircraft in Friedrichshafen.

A symbol of a free society

May 2017: Foreign Minister Gabriel on the tarmac in Mogadishu.
May 2017: Foreign Minister Gabriel on the tarmac in Mogadishu.© photothek.net

Foreign Minister Gabriel declared, “The liberation of the Landshut is to this day a potent symbol of a free society which does not back down in the face of fear and terrorism.” He went on to say that the Landshut was not just a plane, it was an inspiration. “The message of the Landshut is: we will not back down. We will not give in to terrorism. We are stronger.”

Exhibition design

The decommissioned Landshut today
The decommissioned Landshut today© dpa

A display concept will be elaborated in Friedrichshafen in order to integrate the aircraft into the museum exhibition. The idea is to explain the hijacking and rescue of the plane in their historical context. The Landshut was hijacked in October 1977 by Palestinian terrorists with a view to demanding the release of imprisoned German RAF terrorists. After a crazy journey through seven countries, the plane was retaken by Germany’s elite counter-terrorism unit GSG 9. The aircraft remained in service for Lufthansa until 1985, and was thereafter used by various other airlines. It was most recently flown by a Brazilian carrier.

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