What next for Jat?

Jat and other EX-YU carriers face an uncertain future
With the elections in Serbia done and dusted, everyday problems will once again come into the spotlight. The future of Jat Airways, which in less than a month celebrates 85 years of operation, will once again be up for discussion. Prior to the elections, held earlier in May, it was suggested that local businessmen were gearing up to buy a 50% stake in the carrier. According to media reports, this idea is still probable and could be pushed through later on in the year when the new government is formed.

The Serbian carrier’s most pressing issue is an outdated fleet. Despite immense competition, the airline has seen passenger numbers rise this year, with aircraft full on key routes such as London, Amsterdam, Brussels, Moscow and Paris this summer season. However, the airline also suffers from an unprofessional, politically appointed management. The new Serbian government, which is expected to be formed soon, will most likely be made up of the same parties which led the country in the past four years. One of the key election promises of all the major players was for politically appointed management boards and CEOs in government owned companies to be replaced with professionals chosen upon merit rather than party lines. It remains to be seen whether this promise will be kept and whether Jat will benefit from it.

The two attempts to privatise Jat have both failed. In 2008 no airline answered the government’s tender call while in 2011 only Baltic Aviation System bought the tender documentation but decided not to pursue it further. At a time of severe economic turbulence in the aviation industry, particularly in Europe, it is highly unlikely anyone would be interested in purchasing the carrier. Jat’s most valuable possessions are its numerous expensive slots at airport across Europe such as London Heathrow as well as a loyal diaspora. For now the status quo at the airline is being maintained. The issue of Jat has been put under the carpet for years with no one willing to take any serious action. It is unlikely that such a stance will be taken for another four years.

Other national carriers from the former Yugoslavia are also experiencing problems. Adria’s future will be decided this year as the airline awaits privatisation after being bailed out by the government last year. Meanwhile, Croatia Airlines is suffering from sliding passenger numbers and rising discontent amongst employees as well as a non functioning management awaiting to be replaced. B&H Airlines is fighting for survival as its owners feud over the carrier while the government in Montenegro recently forbid its country’s airports to enforce taxes on Montenegro Airlines due to its mounting debt.


  1. Anonymous14:38

    It will be interesting what will happen to Jat after these elections. I’m also interested to see what will go on with OU once Croatia enters the EU and what will Adria do after their privatization fails.

  2. And still, i would never fly planes that are old + from eastern/europe/Russia. Lufthansa 737-300 may be the only exeption, all the rest.. no thnx :)

  3. Anonymous18:46

    The funny thing is that JAT is actually the best shitty airline that exists in aviation.

    I mean...okay their planes are so worn out...
    but look what a tight schedule they have the summer!

    Many destinations,good frequencies not to forget the slots which are dirty expensive today.
    Also they are (at the moment)one of the safest airlines.

    What really saves JAT is that they own their aircraft!

    THE reason for example for MALEVs demise was that their ac was all leased...

    JAT also could retain so its independence...
    look what Turkish did with B&Hs A319!

    I doubt that JAT will have the money to replace all of their fleet...
    but i would love to see
    if they would buy at least one A320 or two A319
    ..not from Airbus but from another airline!

    They should ask the Chinese for the credit...
    Angola bought their 777 with Chinese money and very good conditions.

  4. Anonymous21:31

    Slightly OT: does anyone have any idea where to obtain a model such as the one pictured?

  5. Anonymous21:52

    Good question, though personaly i would wait until they get a new livery to get the model; a SU-inspired livery would be nice, with Aeroput one side cyrillic one english. Would be nice to get the 90's JU livery on a similar model though. And personally i would prefer the plane totally white then these dots with the absurd name 'Jat Airways'... Think of a new French company if AF was to go belly-up called "Air France Airways". Is just absurd as that, like the whole country in this political situation...

    1. Anonymous13:35

      It is not Air Serbia airways,Jat airways is ok-it is not jugoslovenski aerotransport any longer just Jat..it could be chupa chups airways or Ja aeroputnike transportujem..or whatever.Jat and just Jat

  6. Anonymous23:47

    Ex-yu, time to change the header image maybe? :)

  7. Anonymous15:28

    What 4 more years of no action? Possible..if we see, how fast serbian govts. act. But 4 more years of sleeping will mean that the fleet will be almost fallig apart....


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