The following article talks about the airline’s “golden years” which took place during 1987 and 1988. These were the years JAT recorded a record number of passengers and recorded its last year of passenger growth. During these years the airline opened other companies aboard and ordered new aircraft.
The golden years
In 1987, JAT carried the largest number of passengers to date, a total of 4.531.000. Outstanding results were achieved on domestic services with a total of 2.225.000 passengers travelling on 17 domestic destinations. This was an increase of 21% compared to 1986. For a second time in a row JAT transported more than 4 million passengers in 1987. The number of transported passengers that year was somewhat lower with passenger volumes declining by only 1%. During the two years JAT Yugoslav Airlines also transported an enormous amount of freight while the number passengers on international long haul services peaked. In accord with the Portorož city authorities, JAT opened a new service from Belgrade to Portorož in 1988, while in 1989 the airline connected Dubrovnik and Portorož.
During these years JAT also formulated its regional fleet plans. On April 23, 1987 the airline’s management decided to lease 2 ATR42 aircraft. The first type of this aircraft was delivered in June that year. This was part of JAT’s strategy to obtain smaller capacity aircraft for regional traffic on domestic and international services. After the first two, another 42 seat turboprop was leased in 1988. That same year, on December 16, the airline signed a contract for the purchase of 3 ATR72s.
During the final years of the 1980s JAT also set up a string of companies abroad including Targa Tours in Zurich, Yugomart International (still i existence today under a new name) and Pilgrim in London, LSH GmbH in Frankfurt, Yugomart International in Nicosia and OTG in Panama. All these companies sold JAT tickets, purchased spare parts for JAT’s fleet and sold seats on the so called workers’ lines, tourist charters and scheduled services.
The 2 golden years were also marked by JAT’s introduction of automatic ticketing, the arrival of another 4 DC10s, the opening of cargo services to Paris, the decision to lease a further 2 Boeing B737-300s, the introduction of Adriatic Class on domestic and international services, resumption of services from Mostar to Belgrade and Zagreb, commencement of services to Bangkok and the commencement of services from Zagreb to Lyon, Niš to London and Sarajevo to Rome.
Next week: Mass expansion planned for 1990s