The arrival of the first passenger B737 at Belgrade Airport, 1985Jat Airways’ Boeing B737-300 registered YU-AND today celebrates 26 years since it was delivered to the Yugoslav national carrier. It was the first passenger B737-300 to operate in Europe. The aircraft came during the golden decade of JAT Yugoslav Airlines. The Yugoslav national carrier initially ordered 2 B737-300s on September 1984. A year later the first, registered YU-AND, arrived on August 8 while on August 15 the second, registered YU-ANF, landed at Belgrade Airport. Both are still with the airline. Under the purchasing contract for the Boeing jets, at least 50% of the aircraft’s price was covered by Yugoslav exports to the United States as well as the production of certain Boeing parts in Yugoslavia. The Boeings were deployed to European routes, with the DC9s relegated to domestic and charter flights.
YU-AND on the production lineThe Boeing B737-300 today forms the bulk of Jat Airways’ feet with the airline operating 10 aircraft of this type. The last 2 arrived in 1988 (YU-ANW and YU-ANV). Despite their age it should be noted that Jat’s Boeings do not have a great deal of flying time as they were grounded for almost a decade due to United Nations and European Union sanctions. One of its 737s, registered YU-ANJ, was grounded at Istanbul Airport from 1992 until March of 2000 when it was allowed to return to Belgrade after some of the sanctions were lifted.
YU-AND todayJat’s B737s have, over the past 2 decades, worn several liveries including the silver body egg livery, the flame livery and the current dot livery. Similarly, the aircraft have seen several cabin refurbishments. The airline has acknowledged that its fleet is old and has said it will need new aircraft in 2012 as the cost of maintaining the Boeings will become too expensive in the near future. Whether their wish will come true depends on its owner - the Serbian Government and a potential future strategic partner.