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Boeing cargo jet, stranded at wrong Kansas airport, to fly again

(Reuters) - A Boeing cargo jet that was stranded overnight at a Kansas airport that was too small to handle the giant aircraft is set to take off later Thursday, officials said.

The Dreamlifter bound for McConnell Air Force Base in Wichita, Kansas, landed instead at the nearby Colonel James Jabara Airport run by the city, according to a statement by a Boeing Co spokesman.

The company declined further comment and said more information would be released later Thursday.

City officials said the 235-foot (72 meter) Atlas Air 747 Dreamlifter landed there late Wednesday by mistake, but didn't say what led to the error. The two pilots had taken off from New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport, officials said.

The 600-acre (243 hectare) Jabara airport, which has one runway, one helipad and no control tower, is about 9 miles from McConnell.

There was no damage to the airplane or airport, and no injuries were reported, officials said.

"Whoa," Wichita city officials said in a statement posted early Thursday on the city's official Facebook page. "The plane is too large for the runway and will need help departing."

By daybreak on Thursday, the plane was cleared for a 12:00 p.m. CT (1800 GMT) take-off to continue its journey to the base, said Van Williams, a spokesman for the city of Wichita.

Officials did not specify what was done to allow the plane, which needs about 3,000 feet more runway than the Jabara airport allows, to get moving again, according to a report by KWCH in Wichita.

The Dreamlifter is a modified 747-400-passenger plane that can haul more cargo by volume than any other plane, according to Boeing's website.

The plane is used to haul Boeing 747 Dreamliner parts to the Dreamliner assembly site in Everett, Washington.

(Reporting by Karen Brooks; Editing by Scott Malone and Bernadette Baum)

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