Jat Airways is in damage control after a Serbian newspaper published a front page passenger photo in which loose bolts are seen on the wing of one of its Boeing B737-300s mid flight. The photo was taken last week on a flight from Kos to Belgrade. The photo was published on Friday in Serbia’s most read newspaper “Blic” and made it onto national television by the evening. The Serbian carrier reacted immediately saying that the photo is authentic and that it deeply apologises to passengers although their safety was never at risk. Jat has launched a full scale investigation saying that all those mechanics found at fault for this problem will be suspended or will loose their job.
Jat officials, who held a press conference by Friday afternoon, said that the bolts which were coming out of the wings’ sheathing did not endanger the aircraft or the security of the flight. However, they did admit that that the fleet needs to be renewed, as the planes’ maintenance is quite costly because of their age. The aircraft in question, registered YU-AON, was serviced immediately upon landing in Belgrade and has been in flying ever since.
The article drew a large scale response from the Serbian public which have a largely unfavourable opinion of their national carrier. Although the article lacks much aviation knowledge or substance most have found interesting the statement the passenger which took the photo gave, saying that he did not want to alert the cabin crew because he wanted to get to Belgrade quickly.
Jat Airways said in a statement to the newspaper on Saturday that it is unacceptable what had happened saying that all aircraft will be checked within the next 24 hours. The airline blames Jat Tehnika which didn’t report the bolt problem to Jat itself. “Unfortunately we had to find out what happened in a newspaper. That is unacceptable”, the statement reads. Jat Tehnika is no longer a part of Jat Airways as the Serbian government decided to split the two companies in 2008.