In 1987, the golden year of Yugoslav aviation, JAT Yugoslav Airlines operated flights to 17 domestic destinations: Belgrade, Niš, Priština, Skopje, Ohrid, Podgorica, Tivat, Sarajevo, Dubrovnik, Osijek, Split, Zadar, Pula, Rijeka, Zagreb, Ljubljana and Maribor. Seasonal flights were operated from Banja Luka , Portorož and occasionally Mali Lošinj. In 1987, JAT carried an impressive 2.255.000 passengers on domestic flights only, with an average cabin load factor of 63.4%. Furthermore, Adria Airways had a 15% share in domestic traffic by 1990. It is important to note that, at the time, road infrastructure was not up to standard and in some cases air was the only way to get to another city.
The most popular domestic flights during the 1980s were those from Belgrade to Dubrovnik and Split, followed by the service from Belgrade to Zagreb, Ljubljana and Podgorica. The most popular domestic flight from Zagreb, besides Belgrade, proved to be Split and Dubrovnik as well. On the domestic front, the most popular service from Priština was Belgrade while those in Skopje travelled most to Zagreb. Sarajevo’s residents flew mostly to Belgrade and Zagreb. Out of a 100% share on domestic services, 34% flew between Serbia and Croatia, 21% within Croatia, 9% between Serbia and Macedonia and Montenegro, 7% between Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, 6% between Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina and 4% between Croatia and Macedonia.
On international flights in 1990, Belgrade held the largest share of passengers (67%), followed by Zagreb (23%), Ljubljana (7%) and Split and Dubrovnik (3%). JAT sold most tickets for its domestic and international flights in Serbia and the least in Montenegro. While more Macedonians purchased tickets for domestic flights, Bosnians bought more tickets for international flights. Despite Adria’s presence, JAT sold some 7.6% of its domestic tickets in Slovenia and 11.6% of tickets for international flights.
Although it has taken 20 years for relations to somewhat stabilise across the former Yugoslavia, the former market and passenger numbers are unlikely ever to be achieved again.