Keeping it in the familyAnother scandal has caught up with the national carrier of Serbia which once again illustrates the immense political interference, corruption and unprofessionalism on behalf of the airline's management.
It has been revealed that for the past eight months a pilot at Jat Airways has been carrying out his duties and piloting aircraft without a license. The pilot in question, Predrag Premović, was employed at Aviogenex before transferring to Jat. However, Premović only has a license to operate a Boeing 737-200 while in the past eight months he has been carrying out duties on the B737-300 series. In fact, Premović has in such a short time been promoted to the position of the Vice Head of Safety at Jat Airways all thanks to strong political ties. Predrag Premović is the son of the advisor to the Minister of the Interior in the Serbian Government. None of this is too surprising since the acting CEO of Jat Airways is the nephew of one of the founders of the ruling Democratic Party, Vida Ognjenović, who is currently serving as the ambassador of Serbia in Denmark. The CEO Vladimir Ognjenović went from being a ground handler at Belgrade Airport to Jat Airways representative in Copenhagen and then became Head of the airline’s Commercial Department before taking up the position of Vice CEO and finally CEO, all in the past five years.
The Serbian Civil Aviation Directorate, which has also been heavily criticised for its handling of the latest fiasco, tried to defend its decision not to act earlier. The PR of the Serbian Aviation Directorate, Katarina Andrić-Milosavljević, wife of former Minister for Trade Slobodan Milosavljević, tried to defend the pilot on national television yesterday morning with little success. Andrić-Milosavljević came to the directorate herself when her husband became the Minister for Trade in 2007.
Pilots at Jat Airways have been speaking publicly since news of the scandal broke several days ago and have said that absolute chaos has prevailed in their department since Premović was promoted to Vice Head of Safety and that they want to stop political interference in their profession. Neither the acting CEO, the head of the airline’s Safety Department or even the pilot in question Predrag Premović have found it within themselves to resign. The government authorities have also not found it necessary to dismiss anyone for the abovementioned violation nor hold anyone responsible for now. EX-YU aviation news has previously reported on political interference at Jat in the past ten years.