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Flightless Kiwi PM has to delay India visit after plane breaks down

Reuters Reuters 24/10/2016

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key had to delay a visit to India on Monday after his plane broke down en route in the north of Australia.

New Zealand's Prime Minister Key enters the General Assembly Hall to speak during the 71st United Nations General Assembly in Manhattan, New York © REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz/Files New Zealand's Prime Minister Key enters the General Assembly Hall to speak during the 71st United Nations General Assembly in Manhattan, New York

"It is a little bit sub-optimal," Key told reporters in the coastal city of Townsville in northeast Queensland.

Planned meetings with Indian businessmen in Mumbai would be cancelled and the delegation would fly directly to New Delhi in a replacement plane on Tuesday, Michael Fox, a spokesman for Key, told Reuters by phone.

A meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will go ahead as scheduled.

Key's Royal New Zealand Air Force Boeing 757 left Whenuapai air base at Auckland and stopped in Townsville for refuelling, but mechanical problems prevented it taking off again as scheduled, Fox said, without specifying the precise trouble.

The New Zealand Air Force was not immediately available for comment.

(Reporting by Tom Westbrook)

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