Cathay Pacific has been battered in recent years. The increasing interference in the affairs of Hong Kong by the Chinese state has not only eroded the freedoms of the citizens of the Special Administrative Region and led to mass protest, but damaged Cathay itself. Initially supportive of employees that protested against changes being forced upon Hong Kongers the airline's leadership was forced to resign and subsequently it fired staff deemed to have taken part in protests.
Then of course the impact of Covid has been devastating on Hong Kong also with the incredibly heavy-handed approach forced on it by the Chinese government. The Cathay group has been especially hard-hit with the closure of its Cathay Dragon subsidiary just one aspect of its problems. Even now Cathay is still flying 98% less passengers than it did prior to the Pandemic.
So, the Cathay of today is a chastened and weakened airline that is forced to toe the party line from Beijing while the very long-term future of Hong Kong as a financial and business centre is surely on the line.
Looking back then accidentally mis-painting your name on one of your own fleet of aircraft is decidedly small beans. The event was world news on September 18, 2018 - happier times before all the furore mentioned above.
The aircraft in question was the Boeing 777-367 (non-ER) B-HNO. Having returned from maintenance in Xiamen by HAECO, and being repainted into the new Cathay colours, the aircraft was noticed by passengers and staff with CATHAY PACIIC written on its starboard side.
Quite how it happened is a mystery but Cathay themselves saw the light side of it on social media:
The event spawned a series of entertaining headlines from the world's media and social media users such as:
My favourite is "Mistakes on a Plane" from the Irish Times and so I stole it for the headline of this blogpost, although "F off" from New Zealand's Newshub is a close second!
Needless to say the aircraft was taken out of service and repainted pronto and I don't think it ever operated with the incorrect titles. Even so, this momentary fame has been immortalised in 400 scale with both JC Wings and Phoenix releasing versions of it, of which I own the former.
The aircraft herself has sadly been stored since August 8, 2020 and you have to question, as a 2004 build non-ER, whether she will ever see service again.
2018. Belam, M. Cathay Pacific spells its name wrong on side of plane. The Guardian
2019. May. T. Cathay Pacific’s Chairman Resigns as China Pressures Hong Kong Business. New York Times
2022. KLISAUSKAITE, V. Cathay Pacific traffic figures remained sluggish in May 2022. Aerotimes
I'm Richard Stretton: a fan of classic airliners and airlines who enjoys exploring their history through my collection of die-cast airliners. If you enjoy the site please donate whatever you can to help keep it running: