OA grounds 4 ‘unsafe’ planes

Officials at state-carrier Olympic Airlines (OA) yesterday blamed state oversights for the leasing from a Spanish company of four passenger aircraft that displayed serious, and potentially dangerous, operational defects. They stressed that there was no problem with any planes currently operating. The comments came after one of the four Boeing 737s was grounded after displaying problems during a flight. An inspection led to the discovery of a large gash in the plane’s side that had been sealed with glue and painted over. Experts said such a defect could have provoked dangerous decompression. Another three aircraft were found to have similar problems. OA said it was trying to determine whether the repairs carried out by the Spanish firm complied with international specifications. Meanwhile, officials stressed, any unsafe aircraft was grounded. «We ground every plan until we are certain it is airworthy,» said Markos Kandilakis, head of OA’s technical unit. «The mistakes of the previous administration need to be investigated further,» added the president of OA’s pilots’ union, Grigoris Sinekoglou.