Airline officials quickly admitted to the mistake with good humour. “Oops … She’s going back to the shop!” a company social media staffer joked on Twitter.
But the Twitterverse responded with a mix of amusement and amazement.
Some social media users found the error funny while others saw it as a sign of declining standards across the airline industry.
Shown the typo, an engineer for Haeco, a sister company of the airline, was baffled by how such a mistake could have happened.
The error was likely to be expensive, costing several thousand dollars to fix. It was unclear whether a Cathay Pacific engineer or someone from Haeco was to blame.
Suleman Siddiqui, posting on the Hong Kong Aviation Discussion Board Facebook forum, was unamused.
“Maybe have your painters be literate in English. That would be a good idea,” he wrote.
It is not the first time the airline has stumbled over a paint job. A few years ago, one of the earliest planes to be painted in the airline’s current branding had its green “brushwing” logo – just behind the cockpit, on the outside of the plane – painted back to front.
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