Bolivia reverses ban on aging aircraft

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The Bolivian Civil Aviation Authority (DGAC) has reversed its earlier decision banning aircraft older than 25 years from operating scheduled passenger flights within the South American country.

In early 2010 the DGAC took the decision to ban aging 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 is 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 currently in place because of the open administrative procedure.

A DGAC source confirms that a commission at the Ministry of Public Works has determined that the ban has no legal base and can therefore not be imposed on Bolivian airlines.

However, 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 1,500 hours. He also hints the aircraft may be affected by "special restrictions based on environmental and noise protection concerns".

Santa Cruz based Aerosur currently operates four Boeing 727-200s and three 737-200s, which would have fallen under the ban, in addition to several more grounded aircraft of these types.