Jat Airways is the national airline of Serbia and the former national carrier of Yugoslavia, based in Belgrade. It operates scheduled domestic, regional and international services to 36 destinations in Europe, North Africa and the Middle East, as well as charters and wet leases. Its main base is Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport.
In 1949, Yugoslavia was faced with a dire international position: isolated both by the West and the East. This caused further rationing of fuel, difficulties in procuring spare parts and the cancellation of all flights to Eastern European destinations. JAT was forced to survive on 6 domestic lines. When Yugoslavia turned to the West, an agreement was made with Swissair to open the Belgrade-Zürich route, which was inaugurated on August 24, 1949. Company stagnation marked the operations in 1949, because the traffic volume was well below fleet potentials and transport needs in the country. However, 1950 was in many ways a tuming point. Douglas DC-6B were bought for long-haul routes, and Convair CV-340 and Convair CV-440 Metropolitan aircraft for short-haul routes. Multiple international and domestic routes were opened.
Long-haul routes to North America, Australia and the Far East were flown by Boeing 707s, introduced in 1970. In 1978 a wide body McDonnell Douglas DC-10-30 (which was chosen over the Boeing 747-200) was purchased to succeed the Boeing 707s on the longer-haul routes, although the 707s stayed in service into the 1980s on ad hoc charters and as scheduled-flight replacement aircraft. Purchase of the DC-10-30 wide-body aircraft was followed several years later by the purchase of a medium-range aircraft.
In 1985 Jat was the first European airline to purchase Boeing 737-300s. During those years the company carried 5 million passengers annually and served 80 destinations on five continents (19 domestic, 45 medium haul and 16 long haul routes). Jat also constructed a large hangar to accommodate wide-body aircraft and a jet-engine test stand.
During that time JAT operated only domestic services, between Belgrade, Podgorica, Tivat, Niš, Priština and for a very short time Užice-Ponikve Airport (many of these were money losing destinations). Finally, in 1994, Jat resumed some of its international services, with aircraft in a new livery (after EU lifted the air embargo). In 1998 Jat ordered 8 Airbus A319, this was seen as a political stunt by the president. The original delivery date was June 2000 but this date has been postponed until a total of $23.5 million is paid off to Airbus while Jat is hoping to divert the deal to another airline. Soon after all flights were cancelled as Europe introduced a new ban and Yugoslavia was bombed for 78 days.
In April 2000 director general Žika Petrović (Жика Петровић) was killed in a mafia-style execution, in front of his family home in Belgrade. The murder is suspected to have been ordered by Slobodan Milošević who had major disagreements with Petrović about how to run the airline.
The company had plans to restart long-haul operations to North America (New York, Toronto, Montreal and Chicago) in June 2005 with two Boeing 767-200ER aircraft that it had planned to lease, but these plans have been postponed and changed. Jat then intended to re-start the flights to New York in May 2006 and Toronto in June 2006 with a leased Boeing 767-200ER aircraft, but were never given rights to fly to the destinations. Jat has since received the rights to fly to Canada.
Jat Airways is not a member of any alliances or partnerships but does codeshare on some routes with Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines, Alitalia, Aeroflot, B&H Airlines and Czech Airlines. Jat Airways also has agreements with Emirates Airline on flights to and from Australia. Jat Airways has recently launched a campaign to join SkyTeam airline alliance, with Air France and Alitalia as a major sponsor of their campaign.
Jat Airways introduced its online booking system in September 2006 and electronic tickets on April 2007. Jat Airways celebrated 80 years of service on June 17, 2007. In 2007 the airline received an award as one of the five best brands from Serbia. It also received an award for its advertisements celebrating 80 years of service. On July 3, 2008 the Serbian national carrier restabilised air links with Croatia after a 17 year absence. The flights operated from Belgrade to Pula will last throughout the tourist summer season until August 31, 2008.
On May 25, 2007, Velimir Ilić, Minister of infrastructure said that Russia's Aeroflot has so far made the most concrete offer for the purchase of a portion of Jat Airways. Aeroflot offered to keep all Jat Airways employees, settle any debts and buy new airplanes for regional routes.
Reports claimed that Aeroflot was prepared to invest USD 450 million in Serbia's Jat Airways. Aeroflot also has interest to commence international flights from some other domestic and international airports in Serbia. The delegation of Icelandair visited Belgrade as they were also interested in privatization of Jat Airways. Also interested in privatization of Jat Airways were Air India, Air Berlin and Air One.
In September 2007 the technical consulting and joint bid by: Rothschild & CIE, Clyde & CO LLP, Citadel financial advisory, Aviation Economics and Dekonta became Jat Airways’ financial advisors. They monitored and suggested the best privatization offer. On January 16, 2008 it was announced that the government of Serbia will sell 51% of shares. On July 31, 2008 the tender for the sale was announced. Investors were able to submit offers for buying a minimum of 51% and a maximum of 70% of shares. Companies participating in the purchase had to provide an Air Operators Certificate (AOC). Interested investors were be given a deadline of nearly two months, until the end of September, for submitting binding offers. The starting price for the airlines 51% share was 51 million Euros, decreased from the earlier announced 150 million in order to increase interest.
On September 30, 2008 it was announced that no company had sent in an offer for Jat Airways and as a result the company would not be privatised. It was announced that the Serbian government would remain the sole owner of the airline with added investment, restructuring and modernisation.
The airline is wholly owned by the Government of Serbia and has 1,838 employees.
When the name Yugoslav Airlines first appeared on aircraft in 1950 the airline had a simple, mainly white livery. During these years there was a Yugoslav flag on the tail, and on the body the words Yugoslav Airlines. Shortly afterwards the airline changed its livery, when the word on the tail section with a red shaped egg on the tail in which JAT was written in white colours. The rest of the tail was blue, with Yugoslav Airlines written on the fuselage in red. There were variations of this livery during the 60s, 70s and 80s. The biggest change in this period was when the first Boeing 737-300 aircraft arrived with a silver body.
Jat started painting its aircraft all white and in 2006, most aircraft were white with a small Jat Airways logo. In December 2006 the airline decided to return to its dot livery. By August 2007 all aircraft have been painted. The livery is slightly different than the previous dot livery. It has the dots on the tail, but the small jat titles remain rather than the big Jat Airways logo across the fueselage.
During the summer season, March 30, 2008 - October 25, 2008, Jat Airways flies 212 flights a week to 36 scheduled international destinations (as of July 2008).
The following are the planned destinations that the carrier has considered to commence in the near future:
Jat Catering provides catering services for Jat Airways. Jat Catering was once part of the Jat Corporation but became independent in 2005. It has strong ties with Jat and uses the Jat Airways logo. Jat Catering offices and kitchens are situated in the industrial area of Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport.
Jat Catering has provided catering services for the 2005 European Basketball Championships in Belgrade. It also offers catering for the following airlines when flying from Belgrade:
For commercial airlines the company also makes special meals for vegetarians, toddlers and vegans.
Jat Airways aircraft have two classes. In the Boeing aircraft, Jat has a business-class section and an economy-class section. On ATR-72 aircraft, the airline offers a one class all economy configuration with the business class section, which used to be located in the back removed in mid 2008. Every passenger gets a complimentary copy of Jat’s in-flight magazine “Jat Airways Review”. All drinks, food and duty-free items are available during flight.
Includes copy of Jat Airways Review Magazine, cloth seats with limited reclining capabilities, and stowaway tray tables.
Includes copy of Jat Airways Review Magazine, large black leather seats with limited reclining capabilities, and stowaway tray tables.
|ATR 72-202||5||62 (0/62)||Regional/Short haul||YU-ALN, YU-ALO, YU-ALP, YU-ALR, YU-ALS|
|Boeing 737-300||10||126 (12/114)||Western and central European services as well as North African and Middle Eastern destinations||YU-AND, YU-ANF, YU-ANH, YU-ANI, YU-ANJ, YU-ANK, YU-ANL, YU-ANV, YU-ANW, YU-AON|
|Boeing 737-400||1||156 (12/144)||Popular Western services and charter destinations||YU-AOS|
Jat Airways has announced that it will cut its fleet to 6 Boeing 737-300's and 3 ATR 72's Therefore, 2 ATR 72's (YU-ALR, and YU-ALS) will be retired as well as the only Boeing 737-400 YU-AOS. It is unknown which 4 Boeing 737-300's will be retired.
|23 November 1974|| McDonnell Douglas DC-9-32 |
|None||The aircraft crashed 1 mile short of the runway after losing visual contact while on an approach at Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport. None of the 50 passengers were hurt.|
|16 August 1980|| Boeing 707-340C |
|None||The aircraft overran Stockholm's Arlanda Airport runway 26 while landing in a thunderstorm blowing several tyres and receiving mud in all 4 engines. There were no fatalities in the incident.|
|26 January 1972|| McDonnell Douglas DC-9-32|
|27||Flight JU 367, McDonnell Douglas DC-9-32 was destroyed in flight by Émigré Croat terrorists (Ustaša) who had placed a bomb on board. Of the 28 passengers and crew members on board, 27 died, with flight attendant Vesna Vulović the only survivor.|
|11 September 1973|| Sud Aviation SE-210 Caravelle 6-N |
|41||Caravelle Maganik Crash-This is JAT's most recent accident with loss of life. The aircraft struck the Babin Zub peak on Maganik mountain near Podgorica, at 6,300 feet while descending from 9,000 to 6,000 feet in IMC conditions on flight from Skopje to Podgorica, killing all 41 passengers and crew members on board. Allegedly, the flight was instructed to start decent, althrough the aircraft was not visible on radar (which were allegedly not working well at the time) nor could the control tower staff on Podgorica Airport make visual contact with the aircraft.|