A second air force plane is being sent to Australia after the one carrying the Prime Minister broke down.
The Royal New Zealand Air Force Boeing 757 had stopped at Townsville in Australia to refuel, but two attempts this afternoon to take off have been aborted.
Mr Key and his delegation are clearing customs in Townsville while arrangements are being made.
Mr Key is travelling to India for a four-day official visit with a business and education delegation.
In New Delhi, he was set to meet with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Pranab Mukherjee.
He will also attend a range of events aimed at showcasing leading New Zealand companies doing business in India.
Trade with India has grown by 41 percent since Mr Key's last visit in 2009.
Mr Key said he was naturally disappointed about the delay, as it looked likely the delegation would miss its day in Mumbai.
"Should be in a position to carry on with the major focus of the trip, which is the bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Modi," he said.
"Disappointing, particularly for the business delegation, but hopefully we can carry on with the main purpose of the trip."