Cathay Pacific, the flag carrier of Hong Kong, has been roundly mocked after the airline spelled its name wrong on the side of one of its planes.
A photo was posted on social media of the aircraft with the name emblazoned on its right-hand side missing an F and reading: "CATHAY PACIIC."
Cathay Pacific, which flies between Australia and Hong Kong, tweeted a trio of images, the third showing a worker fixing the mistake, with the caption: "Oops this special livery won't last long. She's going back to the shop!"
Travellers had spotted the mistake at Hong Kong International Airport and contacted the airline, which said it was a genuine mistake.
Oops this special livery won’t last long! She’s going back to the shop!(Source: HKADB) pic.twitter.com/20SRQpKXET— Cathay Pacific (@cathaypacific) September 19, 2018
However, an engineer for Haeco, a sister company of the airline, told the South China Morning Post that the error, which could cost thousands of dollars to rectify, looked staged.
"The spacing is too on-point for a mishap," the engineer said. "There should be a blank gap in between letters if it was a real mistake I think."
Marketing stunt or not, Twitter users took the opportunity to make gags at the airline's expense. "No f's were given that day," wrote one.
No f's were given that day— Aghiad Haloul (@AghiadHaloul) September 19, 2018
"Does it say CATHAY PACFFC on the other side of the fuselage?" wrote another.
A third commented: "Great that you can have a laugh about this in public. Air travel needs to lighten up."
The original tweet from Cathay's account has gone viral, with more than 7500 likes and more than 2500 retweets so far.
Not everyone was amused. "I fly Cathay and to me this just shows a breakdown in quality - no humor," wrote Mike Cooper on Twitter.
I’m not sure why this is not funny to me. I fly Cathay and to me this just shows a breakdown in quality - no humor (and I’m a funny guy 😂). Not something I think should be so blatantly and proudly publicized on a brand I spend money to support. How much did this “mistake” cost?— Mike Cooper (@mcooperatl) September 19, 2018
The airline later confirmed the aircraft was registered B-HNO, a Boeing 777-300, one of 66 in its fleet.
Cathay Pacific was founded in 1946 and carried some 34.8 million passengers last year, along with its subsidiary airline, Cathay Dragon. It flies to 76 destinations around the world, including cities in Europe, Asia and Australasia. The airline is a member of the Oneworld alliance along with Qantas, meaning Qantas frequent flyer points can be earned on its flights.
Cathay Pacific's name comes from Cathay being the ancient name given to China, and Pacific as one of its founders in 1946 hoped one day the airline would fly across the Pacific Ocean, something it achieved in the '70s.
In this year's World Airline Awards, Cathay Pacific was ranked the sixth best airline in the world.
The Telegraph, London