As Yugoslavia started to break up so did Jat’s network. Under United Nations sanctions, Jat was banned from flying out of Yugoslavia for most of the 1990s, although there were short periods of time when Jat was allowed to operate to European destinations. The first time Jat suspended air service, excluding World War Two, was in 1999 during the bombing of Yugoslavia. The airline resumed services in June that year.
After 83 years, Jat faces an uncertain future just as it did eight decades ago. Whether the airline will celebrate 84 years of existence under a new name remains to be seen. Although the airline might have lost its glory and respect it has managed to do one thing – it is still in the air, jumping over hurdles many would have stumbled upon.
Interesting Jat facts
· First operator of the Boeing B737-300 in Europe
· The only nationl airline coming from a communist country to operate an all Western made fleet
· In February 1978, on a flight to Sydney, a woman gave birth on Jat’s Boeing B707. The birth certificate of the child, named Jatko, designates the Jat aircraft as his place of birth. Jatko Todev lives in Australia and has a lifetime of free Jat tickets
· In 1990 Jat ordered DC11 aircraft and was to become the launch customer of the type. Originally the airline planned to order Boeing B747s but an overnight political decision changed all that. As Yugoslavia broke up, ultimately, the order was transferred to Swissair. Tragically, one the aircraft from the original order crashed into the Atlantic Ocean on route to Geneva in 1998
· Vesna Vulović, a Jat stewardess holds the Guinness World record for the longest fall without a parachute. It occurred in January 1972 when Jat’s DC9 was shot over Czechoslovakia. Vulović, falling from 10.000 metres, survived and continued working for Jat until retirement
· During the 1999 NATO bombing of Yugoslavia, Jat’s fleet of busses, which transported passengers to Bucharest which would later continue their onward journey, were based in front of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade as it was believed they would be safe there. Ironically, the Chinese Embassy was bombed and Jat’s entire fleet of busses was destroyed
· Jat has been the national carrier (under various names) of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Serbia and Montenegro and finally Serbia