Qantas planes will remain on the ground until fitted with regulation letter 'u's. The spelling mistake was spotted by eagle-eyed chief pilot Bradley Knapper - just as flights were to resume following industrial action.
"I was doing my usual pre-flight kick of the tyres when I happened to look up and noticed there was an A on the fuselage where there should have been a U. I frankly could not believe it. Apparently we've been flying in this state of lexical madness for years, on the brink of what could easily have become a grammatical disaster. I hate to think what might have happened at 30,000 feet had we lost another letter."
To help get the fleet back in the air, the airline is appealing for aircraft fitters qualified to English A-level Grade C or above. Those already in the company's employ are being re-tested on 'Eats Shoots and Leaves' (IATA regulation edition).
"We're indebted to Bradley Knapper," commented chief exec Alan Joyce, "for his sharp eyes and his qick thinking."