What Happened To Adria Airways’ DC-9-30s?

Adria Airways was the former flag carrier of Slovenia and, once upon a time, also a leisure airline of Yugoslavia. Over its 58 years of operations, Adria operated 12 McDonnell Douglas DC-9-30 aircraft. Let’s take a look at where they ended up.

YU-AHJ was the first DC-9 to arrive in 1969, as a replacement for a DC-6B. Photo: Rob Hodgkins via Wikimedia Commons

DC-9s started arriving in 1969

Adria Airways, the collapsed Slovenian flag carrier, began acquiring McDonnell Douglas DC-9 aircraft following a business restructuring in 1969. Back then, the airline was just eight years old and operating under the name of Inex Adria Aviopromet. Slovenia was part of Yugoslavia.

Between 1969 and 1980, 12 DC-9 aircraft joined Adria’s fleet as part of a fleet renewal to replace its four DC-6Bs. Out of the 12 DC-9s, ten were DC-9-30, and two were DC-9-50 aircraft.

The first DC-9 to arrive was YU-AHJ in April 1969. The aircraft was originally meant for Alitalia but the Italian airline did not take it up, according to Planespotters.net. Alitalia’s livery at the time had window stripes, so when Adria took on this DC-9 aircraft, it also had stripes across windows for the very first time.

After that first McDonnell Douglas DC-9-30 arrived in 1969, Adria took on a further nine between 1970 and 1980. Four of these nine crashed: YU-AHR, YU-AJN, YU-AJR, and YU-AJO.

Inex Adria Aviopromet
YU-AHW was the third McDonnell Douglas DC-9-30 to arrive, in 1971. Photo: Eduard Marmet via Wikimedia Commons

Four DC-9-30 aircraft crashed

YU-AHR was delivered brand new in April 1970, but Adria had leased it to EgyptAir in October 1971. The aircraft crashed on 19th March 1972 into the Jebel Shamsan mountain in Yemen, on approach to Aden International Airport.

YU-AJN was delivered to Adria in May 1973 and leased to JAT Yugoslav Airlines, now Air Serbia, in April 1974. On 23rd November 1974, on approach to Belgrade Airport, its pilots lost visual contact with the runway and landed 2.5 kilometers short of it. The aircraft was evacuated as it caught fire, and it was damaged beyond repair.

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YU-AJO was delivered to Adria in April 1973 after German airline Atlantis withdrew it from use at just one year of age. It crashed on 30th October 1975 on arrival to Prague Airport, five miles short of the runway.

YU-AJR crashed too, at less than a year old. It was delivered to Adria brand new in March 1976 but crashed on 10th September 1976 in a mid-air collision with a British Airways HS-121 Trident in the airspace of Yugoslavia.

The other seven McDonnell Douglas DC-9-30 aircraft made it to old age.

One of Adria’s DC-9-30s crashed into a British Airways HS-121 mid-air. Photo: Pedro Aragão via Wikimedia Commons

Other DC-9 aircraft made it to old age

YU-AJX was first delivered to Delta Air Lines in 1968 before Ozark Airlines took it on in 1979 and leased it to Adria in the summer of 1980 and 1981. The aircraft was sold to AeroTurbine for its components just after 9/11, in October 2001.

YU-AHW was delivered to Adria in April 1971. From 1988 until 1991, it was leased to an Egyptian airline called ZAS Airline of Egypt. After the breakup of Yugoslavia, Adria leased it again to Avioimpex from Macedonia, where it stayed until its retirement in 2001.

YU-AJB was first delivered to USA’s Purdue Airlines in 1969, but Adria took it on in May 1971. It stayed with Adria until 1985 when it went back to the United States to be converted into a cargo aircraft that operated flights for Airborne Express, ABX Air, and DHL Network Operations.

YU-AJF, delivered to Adria brand new in 1973, was leased to British Midland on and off in the 1980s. Adria sold it to Cebu Pacific of the Philippines in 1993.

YU-AJT was delivered new to Adria in 1976, and Adria leased it to SAS Scandinavian Airlines in 1984. Adria sold it in 1989 to the USA’s United Aviation Services (UAS).

YU-AJP was delivered to Adria in 1975, having previously been with Universal Airlines of the USA. In 1982 Adria sold it to Australia’s IPEC Aviation which converted it into a cargo aircraft.

What do you think of Adria’s fleet history? Let us know in the comments below.