Bolivia reverses ban on ageing aircraft

Madrid
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Bolivia's civil aviation directorate has reversed a decision banning aircraft older than 25 years from operating scheduled passenger flights within the South American country.

In early 2010, the directorate decided to ban ageing aircraft from commercial operations after a number of Boeing 727s operated by Aerosur and defunct Lloyd Aereo Boliviano suffered several critical incidents and accidents.

But Aerosur imposed an administrative complaint against the measure, claiming that there was no correlation between the age of an aircraft and its operational risks. The ban, originally planned to enter into effect on 1 January 2011, is not in place because of the open administrative procedure.

A source at the DGAC who is familiar with the situation confirms that a commission at the Bolivian ministry of public works has determined that the ban has no legal base and can therefore not be imposed on Bolivian airlines.

But he insists that aircraft older than 25 years will remain under special technical supervision and will have to go through a more thorough maintenance check every 1,500h. He also hints the aircraft may be affected by "special restrictions based on environmental and noise protection concerns".

Santa Cruz-based Aerosur operates four Boeing 727-200s and three 737-200s, which would have fallen under the ban, and has several other airframes of these types, which are grounded.