Townsville plane breakdown cost taxpayers $76k

Townsville plane breakdown cost taxpayers $76k
Air Force Boeing 757 in Townsville (Newshub)

Taxpayers have picked up a bill of $76,407 for the breakdown of an Air Force Boeing 757 in Townsville last year.

The plane was en route to India with then-Prime Minister John Key and dozens of business delegates, including former Blackcap Brendon McCullum.

A faulty speed brake microswitch forced pilots to abandon two take off attempts, leaving around 100 people stranded in the Australian city for the night.

The Air Force's other 757 aircraft was flown over as a replacement, and took off the following day but the original itinerary was cut in half, with all engagements in New Delhi scrapped.

Figures released to Newshub under the Official Information Act show the ordeal cost a total $76,407.

Townsville plane breakdown cost taxpayers $76k

An Air Force spokesperson says there's no landing charges at Australian military bases, and the microswitch was replaced by parts in stock, by full-time Air Force staff.

The figure doesn't include the costs of Townsville accommodation incurred by the Prime Minister, his staff, and the business delegation.

It also doesn't include the costs associated with replacing the 757 that came to the rescue, which was headed to Antarctica from Christchurch and was replaced with a C-130 Hercules.