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An airline spokeswoman said Flight NZ5690 from Dunedin to Wellington departed about 4.45pm today, but spent about 30 minutes circling the skies near Dunedin when the ATR-72 twin-engine turboprop's landing gear did not retract.
"While safety was not compromised at any stage, flying with the landing gear down causes drag, so the decision was made to return to Dunedin.''
She said the plane landed without incident about 5.20pm and passengers were moved to another aircraft, which has since left for Wellington.
Engineers will inspect the aircraft tonight.