Bolivian authorities reject Aerosur's revival plan

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Bolivian authorities have rejected a risk-sharing contract between Aerosur's historic shareholders and would-be investor Franklin Petty, casting further uncertainty on the grounded carrier's fortunes.

The Bolivian Telecommunications and Transport Regulatory Agency (ATT) formally rejected the rescue plan presented by Aerosur, arguing that it had no provisions on how to pay down the existing debt load of around $300 million.

Clifford Paravicini, ATT's executive director, says the $15 million offered by Petty will be only "temporary funding of [flight] operations" and does not constitute a real investment plan.

Aerosur, which was grounded in April, will not be able to resume flights if it does not present an acceptable rescue plan, he adds.

"The risk-sharing agreement signed by the shareholders is a plan to avoid the payment of debts," Paravicini says, adding that a legal assessment of the documents shows clearly that the Bolivian government cannot accept this solution. He indicates that the next step might involve initiating a "fraudulent bankruptcy process" against Aerosur's shareholders.

Bolivia's vice president Alvaro Garcia supported the ATT evaluation of Aerosur's situation, but says the government wants to help the airline and its employees, However, he acknowledges that an appropriate rescue plan would be a prerequisite.