Delegation flies out on 777

Last updated 16:24 18/03/2014

A delegation of high-powered Japanese business leaders leaves the capital on a Boeing 777-300.

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It landed safely and took off again. Will Wellington welcome even bigger planes in the future?

A delegation of arguably the most influential group of Japanese business leaders to visit New Zealand in 40 years left the capital on Tuesday afternoon following talks with politicians.

The businessmen boarded the plane about 3pm today.

The ANA aircraft was not fully loaded, so was easily able to take off into a brisk headwind.

Wellington Airport staff gathered on the tarmac to watch the plane lift off, along with hundreds inside the terminal peering out the windows.

The party of more than 40 made a high-profile entrance when they arrived on Monday morning on board a long-haul Boeing 777-300ER aircraft that flew direct from Tokyo to Wellington - sparking renewed debate about the runway length at Wellington International Airport and whether it will be able to accommodate fully-laden long-haul flights in the future.

They met with Prime Minister John Key, and were scheduled to chat with Deputy Prime Minister Bill English, and ministers Tim Groser, Craig Foss and Simon Bridges.

The Japanese are from a powerful business organisation known as Keidanren, a sister organisation of Business New Zealand which hosts a meeting today between the two groups.

Official statistics for the year ending December 2012 shows Japan was NZ's fourth-largest export market at $3.2 billion.

The Japanese delegation's next stop is Australia.

> Related read: 777 lands from Tokyo

>Related read: Runway extension could cost $1 million per metre

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- The Dominion Post


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