Well, this is slightly embarrassing… there were bound to be some very red faces at Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific after photos merged online of a plane, fresh from the paint shop, featuring a big gaffe in the spelling of the iconic airline’s name. Luckily, Cathay Pacific (or should that be Cathay Paciic) took the error in good humour, posting the photos on its own social media channels.
Yes, that’s right, somehow engineers managed to paint the airline’s name on the side of a Boeing 777 minus the all-important letter ‘f’ in Pacific. The mistake was first spotted by the Hong Kong Aviation Discussion Board and has since gone viral. Cathay Pacific took to Twitter, saying: “Oops, this special livery won’t last long. She’s going back to the shop!”
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
According to the South China Morning Post, the mistake is likely to cost the airline several thousand dollars to fix, citing an anonymous source at HAECO, an engineering sister company of Cathay. And it’s not the first time a paint job has gone wrong – when Cathay unveiled a refreshed livery a couple of years ago, the distinctive bird swoop logo was painted the wrong way round on one aircraft.
It’s unclear who was to blame for the mishap but clearly, the foul-up was missed by a number of staffers.
It reminds us of the social experiments into “change blindness” – how you can miss something that’s right in front of you. In this case, various engineers and managers expected to see “Cathay Pacific” painted on the side of the plane and that’s exactly what their brains told them they were reading – even if the obvious mistake was staring them in the face.
If you want to see “change blindness” in action then check out this video, along with an explanation from the University of Utah. Cabin crew, look away now, you have no doubt seen this video many times before as part of your Human Factors training (and if you haven’t, suggest your training department includes it).
It’s been a busy week for Cathay Pacific – just a few days ago, the airline was forced to cancel over 400 flights after Typhoon Mangkhut swept through Hong Kong. On Monday, the airline also announced plans to donate the first ever Boeing 777-200, registration B-HNL to Pima Air & Space Museum in Tucson, Arizona.
The plane was first flown on 12th June 1994 and joined Cathay’s fleet in 2008 where it racked up 20,519 flights and 49,687 hours of flying time before being retired in May of this year. Cathay Pacific was one of only a handful of operators who had a say in Boeing’s development of the jet, shaping the aircraft to suit the carrier’s needs.