Jat turns 83
Jat Airways has today turned 83. It was today in 1927 that Aeroput was founded as the national carrier of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. After World War Two, JAT Yugoslav Airlines would become its successor and the name would change one final time, in January 2003 to Jat Airways, after the name Yugoslavia finally ceased to exist. Jat has had turbulent history. After World War Two the airline struggled to get aircraft in the air and was banished by both the East and West. However, its major rise would begin in the 1960s as foundations were laid for Jat’s “golden years” which took place during the 1970s and 1980s. In 1987, Jat carried the most passengers in its history – 4.531.000. The number has never been surpassed.

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


  1. Anonymous09:30

    I just like Jat!

  2. Anonymous10:12

    Happy birthday, my mum worked for Jat for 30 yrs and thanks to her and Jat I saw the world, it will always have a special place in our lives.

  3. Anonymous10:57

    Whatever it is artificial will eventually stop existing, even after 80 something years.

  4. Anonymous11:26

    Congragulations Jat! BTW, Jat was not the only airline from the east using only western made planes, also Adria was.

  5. JU520 BEGLAX12:04

    Happy Birthday JAT.

    I still don t know why this all has been done to you and Yugoslavia. It was complete non-sense but in our minds and hearts you will fly on and on !!

    I will never forget all the many hours I spent flying over the clouds on board a JAT plane.
    Caravelles, ATR-42, DC9-32s, Boeing 727-200s, Boeing 737-300s and DC10s took me to Belgrade, Zagreb, Ljubljana, Dubrovnik, Zurich, Chicago, Los Angeles and New York...

    Probably the most memorable was the DC10 flight in July 1989 from Belgrade via Chicago to Los Angeles

    Don t let u go down !!

  6. Anonymous13:08

    Adria belonged to the government of Serbia which owned JAT as well, so one can say that Adria was owned by Jat, since it was the national carrier of Yugo.

    Happy Birthday Jat, I am a faithful passenger of yours and I will keep on being that! There is no greater pleasure than to fly on your own national airline!

  7. Although my experience with JAT is less than fabulous, I have heard from my grandparents that once JAT was one of the best airlines in the world with air network comparable with LH,AZ,BA,SR.
    I wish them all the best and hope to see the glory they once had!

  8. Anonymous16:07

    Happy birthday, Aeroput! Now that so many streets in Belgrade have been renamed to their pre WW 2 names, it's time to return to the good old Aeroput brand.The airline should be renamed Srpski Aeroput - Serbian Airways.

  9. JATBEGMEL16:22

    i hope for some better says for JAT. sick of listening to empty promises made by its management.

    @ EX-YU

    nice article :) its MD-11 not DC11 :)

    @ anonymous

    I believe JP was a private charter company, not owned by the YUGOSLAV goverment, begining as Adria Aviopromet.

    @ anonymous

    Zagal (now OU) was another Yugoslav airline with a western fleet. AGX modernised their fleet with Boeing aircraft before the break up of Yugoslavia if that counts too.

  10. Oh, what's with the birthdays these days! :)
    Happy B-day to JAT! Hope to celebrate hundreds more! :)

  11. Happy Birthday JAT. I hope that Jat will survive because it deserve that. U inat dusmanima :):)

  12. Guys, does somebody know which plane landed at BEG, yesterday before that awful storm, around 5pm? It had dark blue fuselage with 4 engines... Maybe A340 or some Il? And was it an emergency landing?
    Thanks in advance :)

  13. Anonymous04:10


  14. JATBEGMEL11:16

    @ JU500

    could of been SU IL96 but the flight arrives around midday and the BEG site says it was A320 and on time. i never noticed the aircraft and i can see the aircraft taking off and landing from my apartment...but visability got bad when the rain came.

  15. It was an IL76 operated by Silk Way Azerbaijan cargo Airlines :)

  16. frequentflyer13:35

    OK, so the airline stumbles to another year of existance. Even if it changes its name (and structure etc), it will be a continuation of the same company.

    The reality is that JAT in its current form is *NOT* sustainable in either the short- or long-term. The list is just far too long of things that need to be fixed (and they've been discussed ad nauseum on this forum), and there will be a point in the near future where the government says 'dosta'.

    It also doesn't make sense to reflect solely on the 'glory days' of the airline with its far-flung destinations and long-haul fleet, that doesn't help the future of this airline in any way.

  17. JATBEGMEL19:42

    @ frequentflyer

    i agree. and the fact is the goverment then at least invested into the airline smartly, which was the reason to its success, not here where the CEO, because he is a member of DS, former Grand Kafa CEO, gets to run the airline! then the airline was a well run intercontinental airline with a network spaning 5 continents, modern aircraft, good service, today its an airline making a loss, with aging aircraft, just able to keep their current pathetic schedule. lets just hope the loan comes through and some possitive steps start being made.

  18. Anonymous15:56

    In an ideal world Jat would be for the region what SAS is for the Scandinavian countries.


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