Game over for Jat Catering

The good old days - a passenger enjoys a meal provided by Jat Catering in the 1980s
Jat Catering has, for the past several decades, provided meals for Jat Airways flights. Although separated from the airline in 2005 as an independent company, it solely provided meals to the Serbian national carrier until January 14 when it went on strike. The strike action caused an absence of meals for 2 days on board Jat aircraft until Airport Catering Belgrade was asked to step in and provide meals. A Jat Catering spokeswomen says that Jat owes 41 million Dinars (416.000 Euros) to the company. Jat denies the claims and says the strike was illegal as there was no prior notice.

Jat Catering could now disappear after Jat Airways commenced tender procedures to find a new company which should provide meals to the airline on all outbound flights out of Belgrade. The tender will last for 30 days and the new company should be providing meals effective immediately. The company with the least expensive offer will be chosen. The future meal provider must also have all sanitary certificates and must have tasty and presentable food, according to a Jat statement. For the past month Airport Catering Belgrade has provided meals to the airline while Jat’s ground handling unit SU-PORT has provided drinks.

Jat Catering was, until 1990, the most modern and best equipped catering unit in Europe having the most modern facilities for food production at Belgrade Airport and producing thousands of meals per day. The food production building was spread over 8.000 square metres and Jat Catering was the largest food production company in the former Yugoslavia. In 2005, it was decided that Jat Catering should be separated from Jat Airways. Furthermore, the company was divided and a new catering company, Airport Catering Belgrade, was created. Jat Catering significantly decreased its meal offering in 2008 when the then management of Jat Airways decided it would cut costs by offering less food to passengers.

Meanwhile, the Government of Serbia said that it offered to help Jat Catering a year ago but the company was not interested. The Government now says that it is up to Jat Catering to solve its own problems.

With no customers, the company which has existed for decades may soon disappear. For the first time in its long history Jat Airways will no longer be serving meals prepared by Jat Catering.


  1. shame for Jat Catering. I hope the new catering service to JAT will be good...

  2. Anonymous12:49

    "Shame for Jat Catering"? When was the last time you had a "meal" in one of Jat's aircraft?

  3. "Jat Catering was, until 1990, the most modern and best equipped catering unit in Europe having the most modern facilities for food production at Belgrade Airport"

    Who supplied the equipment? How was the ranking done of the catering units? Who gave them the #1 spot?

  4. @anonymous:

    A catering company does what its client (ie. Jat) tells them to do, or do sth. for an x amount of money. The catering company's job is to maximize the experience and quality for the money paid.

  5. Anonymous13:25

    Why provide meals at all? It seems to me that the smart choice now would be to LOWER TICKET PRICES and cut out the meals completely. I am looking for a reliable airline that can safely take me from point A to point B for as little money as possible. I have no problem bringing some snacks (pogacice, djevrek, burek) with me in my carry on luggage, purchased from any number of wonderful local bakeries in Belgrade and guaranteed to taste better than any airline food.

  6. JU520 BEGLAX13:34

    @ BEG Long Haul....
    seems that all around BEG and JAT are still dreaming of what has been 1960-1990s. Past is past. Today there is no PA, no TW, no SR anymore. So what to do? Look ahead and be open for a new, changed and hopefully bright future. And be realistic. JAT and Belgrade will never become again the status they had until 1990. JAT will remain a carrier with narrowbody flights feeding hubs and stations where there is biz and ethnic traffics. Belgrade will for sure develop it's passengers figures and if they are lucky they will see some 1,2 or 3 long haul operations in the longterm future. That's it.
    Look at PRG,WAW,VIE: Even they have difficulties to keep long haul operations. For the balcans, IST has longtime taken over BEG. And one HUB in the region is enough. ZAG and LJU passengers are anyway more orientated to ZRH,MUC and VIE.

  7. @JU520 BEGLAX

    I fully agree. People in this region seem not to understand that it's all about the bottom line. They seem to equate the success of an airline with the number of pax, the beauty of the cabin crew, the quality of the meal... and the truth is far from being that.

    They talk about the expatriate communities across continents disregarding the fact that VFR are the lowest yield pax of all, they talk about meals not being important, yet they complain of the sandwiches being given... But then again, that's what the majority of the people in the region are good for: lots of talk, no action.

    I also believe that Jat's glory days (if they ever were glory days) are over, at least how we tend to portrait them. I do personally believe though, that with a good management, it could be a profitable carrier, and could even provide some intercontinental routes to some specific market, ie. become a niche/boutique carrier... but those markets are certainly not Australia or New York.

    Think something like Austrian ---> Eastern Europe&Middle East, or Brussels Airlines ---> Africa

    Jat Airways ---> your boutique carrier to ...

  8. frequentflyer14:42

    Meanwhile, the Government of Serbia said that it offered to help Jat Catering a year ago but the company was not interested.

    This obviously highlights the issue - where else did Catering think the funding was coming from? The airline is being heavily subsidised by the government just to stay in the air (even with one of the world's oldest fleets)...

    Catering have played their hand extremely poorly on this one - it's sad to see any company go under, but nobody could say it's not partly self-inflicted.

    @ BEG Long Haul

    Well said! The biggest problem is that these airlines are NOT allowed to run like true businesses - and as ANONYMOUS has stated in other threads, it will sadly make many of the airlines in the region basket-cases until they realise this (if they realise it at all).

    Makes you wonder if there really is ANY well-run airline in the exYU...

  9. @ BEG Long Haul

    "lots of talk, no action"
    I completely agree on this one with you. Our people tend to complain a lot and always refer back to "golden" times and expect that someone else is going to solve all their problems.

    No matter how negatively the recent events have affected our region, I believe that we still have a lot of potential to make things better. Regrdless whether we are nostalgic for Yugoslavia or not, the fact is that we have to work together and help each other in order to overcome all those obstacles. As for example, Bosnia will never advance unless Serbia and Croatia progress and Croatia and Serbia will never be stable unless Bosnia is. Whether we want it or not, we are very dependent on each other. It's the time we get rid of borders and walls in our heads and work together for better tomorrow for all.

  10. @ Sam

    I seem to miss your point - what do those 'walls' have to do with the profitable running of an airline?

    As for the 'glory'/'golden' days... my question is... were those really the good days? I'm sure they were better than today (for the airline industry)... but were they really good for Yugoslav Airlines? Did JAT ever make a profit - if so, how much, when? Yes as an answer won't do it. Numbers please!

    It's like the guy who is writing this blog (no offense meant) - 'most modern and best equipped' - says who? The writer of this blog? Facts please, facts please!

  11. @ BEG Long Haul

    "what do those 'walls' have to do with the profitable running of an airline?"

    It does a lot. An example is unsuccesful reastablishment of the ZAG-BEG and BEG-DBV service, or previous ban to Adria on LJU-BEG route. The mental walls haven't only affected the airline industry, but the entire economy of this region. Now I hope you get my point.

  12. Anonymous02:13

    @ BEG Long Haul

    "A catering company does what its client (ie. Jat) tells them to do, or do sth. for an x amount of money. The catering company's job is to maximize the experience and quality for the money paid.

    February 9, 2010 12:51 PM"

    Do I care? That is the issue between the two companies, and I'm caught in the middle of it. I blame both for my shit*y podrigusa sandwich on stale bread. But the bottom line is that if a company doesn't want to have its reputation tarnished by putting out substandard product, they can opt out of the contract once it expires. In other words, if Jat Catering was so concerned about its reputation, it should have been up to them to say "We believe that we are serving our customers food below what we consider to be a standard, hence....". But, the money was good, wasn't it? You think that they were hurting for money?

    All of those companies (Jat, Tehnika, Catering), in my opinion, should be shut down and built up from scratch (under the management of somebody from Japan, not G17+, DS, SPS, SRS, or whatever).

  13. ANONYMOUS03:34

    Wow - the good news keeps flowing - first Wizz, now Jat Catering hopefully going bankrupt. Good F8cking riddance - you were a complete and utter piece of sh!t! Disgusting food and hugely overpriced. €5.5/pax for those disgusting sandwiches + noblice?

    Goodbye - and F*ck off.

  14. Anonymous07:10

    Well I am happy that they are gone, or will be gone!
    All those companies are striking demanding for money, money from where?! It's about time they go!
    As far as Jat goes, sure they suck and everything but I think there are far worse airlines in Europe!
    On the other hand I do agree with someone that Jat Catering did provide crappy stale sandwiches no matter if Jat decided to reduce the price. I am sure Jat didn't tell them: well you know we are cutting costs so only stale bread please!

    All in all I do enjoy flying Jat as their cabin crew is NOT that bad and most of the times I do fly on them they are actually friendly, older by friendly. You know, for ll of you Jat bashers you can fly on your Wizz's and Wings for cheap now and eat your perece there, but I will keep on flying Jat as even tough it's not perfect it sure isn't the worst one out there!

  15. Anonymous07:14

    Forgot to add this, I seriously wonder on how many airlines did the bashers fly on to actually have an opinion!
    Also like someone mentioned the tipical serbian thing: big on words small in action, well there is another one that crossed my mind now, and it's when someone thinks that something is better just because it's foreign. I believe they are called: Kompleksasi.

  16. Anonymous20:46

    Oh shut down that Jat and make something new and logical. If someone is "kompleksai", it's numerous JAT crews with their eternal and ever so boring stories "When we had DC-10...". If you are so proud of it, why did you sell it for scrap without any knowledge, ceremony, etc? JAT always talks about tradition, but they actually forgot what is it (I guess it's the age of workforce). The only tradition there is is to change management how the political winds blow. Pathetic.

    Service is a JOKE and I doubt it will change no matter of catering company. I would rather buy a decent snack than have health problem because of old "meals".

    By the way, I flew with lots of airlines and have above average professional experience in aviation.

    Wish you all an outstanding flights!


  17. Geronimo22:56

    Jat could easily get better sandwiches for the 2.2 euros the offered some time a go when Jat catering did what it did.....
    Flights to Vie,Waw Prag Munich Rome etc also offers you a sandwich and they are slightly better than Jats(Lot,austrian,luftwaffe ,csa alit.)Its better to withdraw the sandwiches and lower the ticket prices by at least 10euros

  18. @ Sam

    what ban on JP to serve BEG? JP was restricted as the then agreement restricted them flying to BEG as JP was already serving PRN. If JP dropped PRN then they would of been able to fly to BEG.

    @ anonymous

    my last meal on a JAT flight was on JU089 from DXB to BEG a year and a half ago. It wasnt bad, some rice with chicken and salad and a cheesecake. i havnt done JAT on short haul so i dont know, and with their very high prices i will keep it at that i wont know.

    @ anonymous

    what do you expect from JAT? For a whole decade it was mismanaged by the Milosevic government, under sanctions the only routes offered was BEG, TGD, TIV, PRN, INI and UZC while the fleet was something like 5 or 6 DC10's, then the DC9's, B722's, B733's, ATR42's, ATR72's. To make things worse, instead of keeping funds, it was 'better spent' on a new livery and a new interior during the recession! Those days maybe gone, but the new government hasnt done much to improve the airline, and nothing but scandal after scandal has come from the airline! JAT in 2003 became Jat Airways. I wonder what the cost would of been to change the details at the Agencija za privredne registre was, not to mention the cost at the Trgovinski sud in Belgrade was so to finalise and valid the documentation and name change! Lets not mention that a B733 YU-ANJ was repainted with a new livery, should it stay should it go, was repainted white, repainted again. over 1.500 people work for JAT when it should be less than 1.000! And we're here talking about whether there should be sandwhiches or djevrek. To cut costs, maybe on domestic Yugoslav flights food could be cut back.

    Imagine if everyone brought something to eat on the plane. Someone will bring just a djevrek, another with pljeskavice, burek, maybe some gulas, piletina, sarma, pasulj...damn that will be one nasty smelling plane lol :)

    Also, 24 sata mentioned yesterday that JAT will sell their office in New Belgrade at Bulevar Umetnosti 16 in order to gather finance for leasing Boeing 737-700 aircraft. any details?

  19. Hey, nice site you have here! Keep up the excellent work!

  20. It is very disappointing thing for jat catering. Now they could not able to carry their catering business forward with jet airlines.

    Catering Trolleys


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