As it once was ... Zagreb Pleso Airport
Flights between Belgrade and the Croatian coast will soon be reinstated and now, almost all of the main airports in the former Yugoslavia are connected through air links. In addition, Adria is set to begin flights from Ljubljana to Split, Montenegro Airlines has managed to connect smaller airports such as Niš with Podgorica and B&H Airlines is flying out of Banja Luka again.

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.


  1. Anonymous10:04

    Yeah… they were all good and golden times in golden Yugoslavia.
    Anyway it’s nice Article.

  2. LH172110:27

    "unlikely ever to be achieved again" "ever" is a very harsh word to say - you NEVER know

  3. Anonymous12:10

    a source would be good . thanks

  4. hahaha!12:33

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  5. Anonymous13:07

    Racial comments not tolerated.

  6. Nice piece of history you shared with us there Ex YU, along with a nice picture as well.

  7. Purger13:36

    This numbers are strange. «On international flights in 1990, Belgrade held the largest share of passengers (67%), followed by Zagreb (23%), Ljubljana (7%) and Split and Dubrovnik (3%)”. All together it is 103% without SKP, SJJ and others. 1990 is not referent number as JAT massively reroute lines to BEG because of airports debts (especially in Croatia), Adria which take much bigger market share (especially in Croatia, Slovenia and BiH), announcement of founding of Croatia Airlines, and political reason.

    Even with that in winter time-table 1990/91 (just before open of CTN) – airports had weekly direct international flights:
    BEG 226
    ZAG 162
    LJU 57
    DBV 10
    SPU 9

  8. All statistics have been provided by Jat.

  9. Anonymous17:06

    First of all, thank you ADMIn for such great article about Yogoslavian aviation, really nice.

    @Purger, calculation is correct 67+23+7+3=100, don't know how did you get 103????????

    Nothing to do with this article, but great news for RJK and Ryanair, RJK has a potential for all year around as OSI too, can't wait to see 2011 results for RJK

  10. Purger17:07

    It is very strange that

    BEG + ZAG + LJU + SPU + DBV = 103%
    + SJJ + SKP + PUY + ZAD + other = <103%


    226 BEG international flights = 67% international pax
    162 ZAG international flights = 23% international pax
    57 LJU international flights = 7% international pax
    10 DBV international flights = 3% international pax
    9 SPU international flights = 3% international pax

    226 BEG flights = 48% of all int. flights = 67% pax?

    I thing that is one more Jatovanje, Jat's fabrication of the facts.

  11. JU520 BEGLAX17:34

    That s a picture from the 70s....

    and the airport today still looks the same 35 years later...

  12. Jeebusman17:45

    @Ex-Yu Aviation

    Thanks for reminding us of our glorious history. We were truly the best nation. Sports power, rising economic power, and military power. We were something. I know that such a thing is unlikely to ever happen again, but I do hope, I really hope, that we can cooperate more and become friends like we once were. This is an excellent reminder of what we can achieve together...not alone.

    I think that the Belgrade connections to the Croatian coastline was the most valuable achievement this year. Even more than intercontinental flights. It was like New York not having connections with Florida's or California's coast...just didn't make any sense. And now, the Ex-Yu region is nearly completely inter-connected. With only Pristina-Belgrade really missing. But again, this is where politics rules the air as usual in this region. Once this mess gets settled, then I'm sure there will be flights.


    Again, you with your nationalism. I mean is it possible that Belgrade carried more pax than Zagreb? Is it possible that Serbia beat Croatia? How can that be? What is the world coming too? Croatia is the best, Zagreb is the best airport ever!

    You completely ruin everything for everybody alright. I only request one simple thing...that you refrain from posting nationalist shit on this blog. This is one of the few blogs about Ex-Yu that does not tolerate nationalism and I really want it to stay that way. So please...KEEP YOUR NATIONALIST COMMENTS TO YOURSELF!!!

  13. Purger19:41

    I doubt data because they are so illogic, and I am nationalist?

    Of course BEG was always much bigger then ZAG. No one doubts this! But 300%? Who can be so naive?

    1990 total pax:
    BEG – 2.720.358 and 67% of int.pax?
    ZAG - 1.912.000 and 23% of int.pax?
    SPU - 1.152.000 and 3% of int.pax?
    DBV - 1.268.000 and 3% of int.pax?

    No, how that can be?

    And of course in near future Jat did not fabricate date?!?!?!

  14. @ Purger, Jeebusman

    Berlin and Munchen are much more important and bigger cities in Germany then Frankfurt. However, Frankfurt dominates in number of flights and passengers. Why? Because it's Lufthansa's main hub. The same was in SFRJ. BEG was main hub for JAT. Most of the passengers went through BEG. And that's why BEG had more passengers. Do I think it was fair? No. Do I think Croatia, even then deserved to have its own airline? Yes? Do I think it's fair that Aviogenex kept 10 planes on HR coast during summer, with 90% staff form SRB? No. Do I know most of DC-10's to North America were filled from ZAG/DBV. Yes.

    But those times, with different political and social system, different global politics, different values, different aviation, and all that within one single country, are something which definitely cannot be compared with situation today. So, please, no more arguing who is better today because none of the ex-yu airlines is good.

    @ EX-YU Aviation,

    Maybie it was not good idea to give situation from 1987, and then to finalize with numbers from 1990. 1990 was the year when shit already started to happen and was not quite normal as before. Just for example, normal winter schedule BEG-RJK-PUY-BEG and BEG-PUY-RJK-BEG was twice daily, morning and evening, even during winter timetable. But, in winter 1990/1991, it was only twice weekly to RJK. So, it would be nice if you could find data you gave for 1990, for 1987, or 1988. Ciao!

  15. Anonymous21:24

    EX-YU Aviation, thank you very much for this excellent article as well as the nice picture that reminded me of my early childhood in the 70s. Back then I was regularly flying to various Yugoslav cities with JAT, Inex-Adria and Aviogenex.

    When looking back from todays perspective, one can hardly believe that back then YU had several quite well run and successful airlines.

    Looking at todays EX-YU airline industry with all the retards and incompetence across the board, makes one wanting go ballistic.

  16. Does anyone have JATs whole timetable from 80's? ie 1987? I would die to see the whole network :)

  17. Purger22:49

    I have domestic summer 1989, and world winter 1990/91 + summer 1991. I also have Adria summer 1991, and Croatia summer 1991.

  18. I have many old JAT timetables.I have them from 1968,1971,1972,1974,1975,1976,1977,1978,1979,1980,1981,1983,1985,1986,1987,1988,1989,1990,1991. I also have winter timetables for some of these years.

    I also have some Inex Adria/Adria Airways timetable.

    I also have some AOG'[s from the 1980's.It amazes me to see how the OAG's and the Airline timetable differ in depoarture times.

    If I only knew how to use my scanner, I would be happy to scan some of these.

    All of these I collected through the years and even bought some through ebay.

    1. would you be able to please tell me the scheduled departure and arrival time of Yugoslav Airlines (i beleive ju560) on april 8th 1989 from belgrade to toronto (via zagreb and montreal)

      I would really appreciate it as I cannot fitnd the 1989 Jat time table anywhere. please send me an email to

      Thank you!

    2. Anonymous04:07

      I'm searching for an info about a flight from LJU to SPU in June or July 1978. I suppose it was made by JAT. If not, please let me know. I would really appreciate if someone who has JAT 1978 summer timetable could post a flight number, type of aircraft, dep. and arr. time or send me a scan of that single page that contains this info. You can also mail me to: kocelj@yahoo.co.uk

      I would really appreciate your help!

  19. I also have Jat timetables from 1981,1983,1984,1985,1986,1987,1988,1989,1990,1991

  20. Purger01:00

    Adriatic, are you interested to sell some of those. I would even buy fotocopy from you.

  21. Jeebusman01:02

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  22. CroMagnum01:11

    Jeebs...I think I'm in love with you...Y-U-G-O-S-L-A-V-I-A forever

  23. This comment has been removed by the author.

  24. Just curious,

    Was Jat a profitable airline in the pre 90's era? (70/80s)

    I have a feeling that Jat would have been highly subsidised by the Yugo government by borrowed money like many companies in the former Yugo was just to keep people in jobs.

    Can anyone answer this for me?

    Jeebs, take a chill pill, one of the main reasons why most Croatians and Slovenians were not happy being a part of Yugo was because of the example Pozdrav iz Rijeka explained which is really just the tip of the ice burg. And just because purger is happy Yugo does not exist does not mean he is a 'nationalist'. Just because Purger prefers to see higher growth where he has invested interest 'Zagreb' makes him a capitalist not a nationalist.

    Nothing wrong with that in my opinion and I see more anti Kosova posts that can be described as Nationalistic then any other controversial comments on this blog.

    Also, do a little research on the Yugo economy in the 70 to 80's era and you will see how dire the Yugo economy actually was. But this was true for most of east communist Europe.

  25. @ Purger

    I am not really interested in selling them. Some are photocopied already from someone who gave me photocopies. If there is a way that I can chat to you in another way (e-mail) I will sure be glad to chat with you.

  26. @Adriatic

    please, please, pleeeeease :)
    I will help you to scan anything you can and want, pleeeeease :) chat - yes, please! :)
    I would simply die to see some of these timetables, when JAT had a huge fleet and so many destinations :)

    MSN? :)

  27. Anonymous06:05

    @Q400: JU was highly subsidised. Every single ticket they sold they would get extra cash from the government. It was nuts but it was a different system back then.

  28. JU520 BEGLAX10:00


    can u publish them or scan mail them?

  29. Purger11:37

    Adriatic thanks. I will kill someone for this. My e-mail is Zagreb_majorettes@yahoo.com. Can you please contack me. Of course I can sent you copy of some old time-tables of Luthansa, Swissair, SAS, Austrian, Aeroflot, Tyrolean, Dolomiti, Croatia, Delta... I have some 400-500 old time-tables


  30. Anonymous19:14

    Of course Belgrade had more traffic than Zagreb, it was the capital. Look at Washington DC, do you think it would be so busy with airline passengers if it was not the capital of the US?

  31. please, all of you, if you could only upload those timetables somewhere, it would be absolutely amazing and great! please :)

  32. I guess that the "silence" means no timetables? :(

  33. JU500,

    Have you tried an internet search?

    Just use goggle images of Jat timetables for example and you get pictures of old timetables or just do a standard search.

  34. Jeebusman05:43


    I did the research, and the info is the same. I never doubted that Slovenia and Croatia were the richest of the Ex-Yu. I am not even angry with that. And for the record, I do not consider Purger to be a nationalist for his statistics. But what I do consider nationalism, is ending every fucking thing he has to say with something along the lines of "Zagreb/Croatia is the best". Which I believe annoys the shit out of everybody. That is all.
    And could you imagine a capitalist Yugo? I think that would be wonderful. If the damn politicians got the message and changed like every other European country, then we wouldn't be in this mess. And I admit, the Serbs are the most to blame for that...but still, a capitalist Yugo would definitely be something.


    If your only argument that Belgrade has more pax because its the capitol, then you are sadly mistaken. It was not just the capitol, but the New York of Ex-Yu. Many even consider it to be the New York of Ex-Yu today in fact. And Belgrade is only growing. It is the largest city in Ex-Yu, and will be for quite some time...it's a big market with a big monopoly. It's a perfect destination for airlines. Do not doubt this...we will see more airlines and intercontinental flights to Belgrade for sure.

  35. Anonymous06:12

    lol Jeebusman you do exactly the same thing except you always say “Serbia/Belgrade is the best”

  36. Purger10:11

    Let mi just point two things:

    1. I never, but apsolutly never mentioned that ZAG and Croatia is the best in everything. That is far far away from truth. I just react of constantly sentance like «Belgrade is New York of ExYU». With statistics. That does not make Zagreb bigger, od Zagreb airport better.
    2. Jeebusman: “If your only argument that Belgrade has more pax because its the capitol, then you are sadly mistaken. It was not just the capitol, but the New York of Ex-Yu. Many even consider it to be the New York of Ex-Yu today in fact”. And I glorify Zagreb? Anonymous: Jeebusman you do exactly the same thing except you always say “Serbia/Belgrade is the best”. If I am nationalist because of glorification, what are you Jeebusman?

  37. Hey guys you should really chill. There were many factors in how many pax there were from BEG and from ZAG on international or intercontinental routes, social, some political (even at that time) and there is really no point in arguing.

    Whatever the numbers were, they are also immensely higher than what they are now, especially for Serbian PAX. Sadly, not within next 50 years, there will be no ex-YU airline that could even remotely compare to JAT from the early 80s.


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