As the saying goes, “Experience is the best teacher” the same goes for us here at JAT Tehnika. With almost 100 years of experience we have been around for a while in the Aviation Industry. In this article we shall attempt to do a very hard task and summarise nearly 100 years of history in just a few pages.
Our history as trailblazers dates all the way back to 1927 when Aeroput founded a workshop for maintenance of aircraft. One of the very first aircraft mechanic divisions in Europe. The first aircraft was a French Potez 29-2 a far cry from the modern-day jet engine aircraft we service now at JAT. As technology evolved so did, we. In 1947 our JAT Technical service experts then installed the new instrument landing system (ILS) in DC-3 aircraft.
The technical division of JAT then got new hangar with accompanied workshops in 1965. It was decided to upgrade its technical sector to make a competitive company by obtaining special license for completing airplane maintenance. On December 10, 1969, JAT received The Air Agency Certificate from the FAA and we were officially granted with permission to perform every form of technical aircraft maintenance. A few years later in 1975 JAT technical operations began performing revisions on foreign company aircraft. In time, JAT technical operations became fully capable of performing complete line maintenance and larger-scale periodic aircraft inspections of the following: DC-9 and B-727 (A,B,C,I,D); B-737 (F,CF) and DC-10 (A,C); ATR-72 (A,I).
Continuing with the theme of excellence, then Yugoslav Airlines and Paris-based SNECNA (National company for the Study and construction of Aviation Engines), one of the world’s biggest commercial aircraft engine manufactures, signed a contract on joint construction of jet engine test cell on March 20th, 1987. With the construction of new engine test cell as part of technical operations at Belgrade airport, JAT created the conditions to conduct examinations of every engine in skies around the world opening up JAT to new possibilities. The engine unit was qualified to perform engine overhauls, modifications and test on PW JT8D-9-15/17 as well as minor modifications on the CFM 56-3A engines.
As a company JAT was forged in the furnace of adversity and it is through these hard times the company has emerged victorious and stronger. The 90’s were marked as a difficult period for the entire country as well as JAT, which suffered huge losses because of sanctions, state of emergency, cutting in market and forbidden flights towards certain destinations. These unfavourable market conditions made it very difficult for the company to operate.
After the sanctions it was time to catch up with the rest of the world. JAT commenced its first international routes in October, 1994. For an easier start, JAT was given the slots it had before the sanctions. All this pointed to trust foreign partners had in JAT, a trust built over the decades through, a trust unimpaired despite the company’s to-end-half year absence from the international scene.
During the dramatic tough period, JAT succeeded again in preserving all of its resources – fleet, technical equipment and personnel. Even under war conditions, the company managed to stay active. Despite political instability checks on airplanes that remained in the country. The training centre too, and many other services also remained active. It is this resilience that has helped jettison the company to where we are today.
Technical operation was the first in “Jat Airways” to get the Joint Aviation’s Regulations (JAR) 145, certificate from the Hungarian aviation authority inspections. The JAR 145 opened up for J technical operations the possibility of becoming an independent unit working for both the national carrier and for third parties, in this way it would earn its own revenues.
Moving onto 2004 and 2005, JAT was facing a mechanic strike. Despite the strikes, Jat received the IATA certificate on safety – IATA Operational Safety Audit – IOSA, in February 2005 confirming that “Jat Airways” had achieved and was maintaining internationally recognized aviation standards in area of air traffic safety and fleet technical maintenance. The company passed IATA control without any negative points. This was a great milestone and ties in with our goal of maintaining high levels of quality and excellence
In a bid to improve the financial situation of “Jat Airways” the government set to restructure the company. This led to the formation of “JAT Tehnika ltd” on July first 2005. After the separation, Jat Tehnika continued to work on Jat Airways aircraft. JAT Tehnika then had the task of building a new image of the company thus creating new partnerships with new clients.
To keep up with our ever changing industry in May 2011 JAT brought new contract for engine workshop with twice the capacity. In same year JAT provided future agreements with Russian airlines for a huge number of planes.
In July 2019, the Government of Serbia announced auction of the company, with plans to sell its 99.4% share in company’s ownership. On 28 November 2019, the Government of Serbia accepted the offer of Czech-Polish group „Avia Prime” to take over the company. This purchase then saw JAT join two other independent MRO’s in Linetech from Poland and Adria Tehnika from Slovenia. The addition of JAT Tehnika to the Avia Prime Group was a crucial step towards the group becoming a widely cable MRO where airlines with different fleet types can all be serviced under the one company. JAT Tehnika is able to benefit from the groups pool of customers and also have different jobs sent to them such as utilisation of the Engine shop by either Linetech or Adria Tehnika. This purchase marks a new era for JAT alongside the Avia Prime group working towards the common goal of continued excellence in the MRO sector