April 20, 2017 / 4:44 AM / in 8 months

You say Austria, I say Australia: Airbus trips up on tricky typo

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Austria and Australia are 16,000 km (9,940 miles) and two keystrokes apart, as European aircraft manufacturer Airbus discovered to its chagrin this week.

The Financial Times, citing fine print in the company’s 2016 financial accounts, reported on Monday that Airbus was being investigated by authorities in Australia for offences such as bribery or fraud.

The Airbus accounts did indeed say Australia, but a company spokesman said that was, in fact, a typographical error.

“It should read Austria and not Australia,” he said.

In February, Airbus said prosecutors in Vienna had initiated a formal criminal investigation against Airbus and the Eurofighter consortium over alleged fraud related to a $2 billion order for the combat jet more than a decade ago.

The typo in the Airbus accounts is the latest in a series of mix-ups between the two similarly named but culturally distinct and geographically distant countries.

Global news network CNN was mocked by Twitter users last year for reporting Australia was building a fence on its Slovenian border.

In 2014, then United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon mistakenly offered his gratitude to hosts Australia when he spoke at a conference in Vienna, according to an Associated Press report.

The Airbus spokesman was unable say whether his company planned to file a new set of accounts with regulators, without the geographical gaffe.

Reporting by Jamie Freed; Editing by Paul Tait

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