Sunday, August 23, 2009

Damage control

Oh oh

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.


  1. the people running JAT just make me wanna vomit every time they talk. If JAT technic to me isnt at fault, i think they do quite well in servicing the relatively old fleet which JAT have, as well as looking after many Boeing 737's which come from around Europe. To me the directors of JAT in the past decade are at fault for not investing into the fleet, but into their pockets, and expecting that the current fleet will last forever. I read the blic article's (Friday 21st and Saturday 22nd August), didnt surprise me, neither did the comment of JAT needing to lease in aircraft from Slovakia due to a few aircraft in the JAT fleet being unable to fly. The new director shouldnt of, in my opinion, have cancelled the lease contract of 2 B737-700's which were supposed to arrive new month.

  2. Jat has had many problems over the years and unfortunately her reputation is getting worse by the month. Why Croatia Airlines will not capitalise on this I don't know.
    Croatia Airlines should begin services to Belgrade ASAP.

  3. Those screws loose on the wing hold brackets which if they did come off wouldn't see the plane make a spectacular crash. However, the 99% of people who don't know these things will see it as a severe safety threat, and will make them think twice about flying that airline. And where is the option for flying with another (potentially safer) airline?


    Some interesting observations. You must remember that the media is ALWAYS going to sensationalise an airline safety story, because that's their job. How do you hold these directors responsible though?

    Maybe cancelling the two 737s is due to a dire financial situation which would never be fully released to the public, yet the CEO (who does have complete access to the books) has an alternate plan or approach. Personally, he's caught between a rock and a hard place with the airline, and previous comments about when these should be entering the fleet make sense (summer not winter scheduling).

    @ Q400

    OU has the fleet capabilities now to expand to BEG and should look to capitalise within the next 12 months (my guess would be summer '10). JP would naturally be the other airline in the region who should look to capitalise, wouldn't be surprised to see TK and LH add a few flights too.

  4. There is no more doubts in my mind - after series of incidents which repeat every year I decided to never fly JAT again. Ever.

    Good luck to fellow passengers who decide to fly them.

  5. This has been a long time coming. There was another incident last year with a 6cm tear in the side of the fuselage (luckily no members of the public saw it), which of course could have been fatal.

    Jat will, and should, pay a heavy price for this. It's the culmination of mistakes, misjudgements and inefficiency that start right at the top, and this always trickles down to the operations (ie. planes in the sky)

    @ Q400 - Your usual drivel and nonsense, what does this incident have to with Croatian Airlines operating ZAG-BEG? Nothing at all.

  6. I have spent the last 6 months in Croatia. What has surprised me the most is that prejudice between Croatians and Serbians in the region is almost non existent. I just believe that people in Belgrade would choose to fly to a European destination with Croatia Airlines via Zagreb if the option was there.
    Jat has a bad reputation and Croatia Airlines has a good reputation in the region.
    So, why would Croatia Airlines not use this as an opportunity to strengthen its position in the region?


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