Brussels - German Chancellor Angela Merkel was 90 minutes late for Sunday's European Union summit in Brussels owing to engine trouble in her aircraft departing from Berlin.
According to official sources, a warning light indicating engine overheating flashed on in the twin-engined government plane's cockpit soon after take-off. The pilot turned off the engine and steered for the nearest airfield, Hanover, making an emergency landing there.
Merkel was forced to wait in Hanover for a replacement aircraft to carry her on to Brussels.
It is the latest in a series of embarrassing incidents involving official German flights. In July, Merkel missed her own 54th birthday party because she was stranded in Algeria by a defective plane.
In September, German President Horst Koehler was forced to take a commercial flight home from China after his state aircraft broke down.
The German government is expected to spend over 1 billion euros (1.3 billion dollars at current prices) on upgrading its aircraft fleet over the next few years.
Sunday's extraordinary EU summit was called by the Czech presidency of the bloc to address growing concerns that some member states may resort to protectionist measures to counter the recession.
On her arrival in Brussels, Merkel called for the European Investment Bank to give more funding to projects to develop new engine technologies. Diplomats said that she was thinking about the auto industry, not her own recent trials, when she made the remark. dpa