Lloyd Aéreo Boliviano
|Ceased operations||2008 (operations suspended)
2010 (license revoked)
El Trompillo Airport (until 1990)
Viru Viru International Airport (from 1990)
|Focus cities||La Paz Airport
Trinidad Airport (1960s)
|Frequent-flyer program||Líder Club|
|Airport lounge||Elite CLAB|
|Parent company||VASP (1995-2001)|
|Headquarters||Jorge Wilstermann International Airport
(also La Paz at a time)
|Key people||Marcelo Goldmann (CEO)[when?]|
Lloyd Aéreo Boliviano S.A.M. (Sociedad Anónima Mixta), abbreviated LAB, also known as LAB Airlines, was an airline serving as flag carrier of Bolivia. It operated domestic and international flights, aiming at passenger as well as cargo transport. LAB was active for more than 80 years, having been based in Cochabamba most of the time, with Cochabamba Airport being an important operational base. Before its demise its headquarters was on the property of Wilstermann Airport in Cochabamba. The largest hub was located in Santa Cruz de la Sierra (El Trompillo Airport or Viru Viru International Airport), though.
NOTE: The following narrative relies only on one single, non-neutral source.
Lloyd Aéreo Boliviano was founded by Guillermo Kyllmann in Cochabamba on September 15, 1925. The name was chosen after the British insurance market Lloyd's of London for its image of safety and security. Flight operations were launched on 23 September using Junkers F.13 aircraft, the first of which had been a present from the German community in Bolivia.
In July 1930, LLoyd Aéreo began to serve international routes, with scheduled flights between La Paz, where it was based then, and Corumbá, Brazil. On the grounds of a co-operation agreement with Syndicato Condor, an airline catering for the German minority in Brazil, LAB passengers could connect in Corumbá on a flight to Rio de Janeiro, and vice versa. Over the following years, more destinations in Brazil were added, so that Lloyd Aéreo became the second largest airline in South America at that time, only surpassed by Avianca from Colombia. In 1932, the Bolivian government seized all of LAB's planes and staff, so that they could be dispatched for military use during the Chaco War with Paraguay.
Bolivian flag carrier
On 14 May 1941, Lloyd Aéreo Boliviano was reorganized as a state-owned company and became the flag carrier of Bolivia, which led to an expansion of the destinations served, as well as a fleet modernization. For its merits for the nation, LAB was awarded the Order of the Condor of the Andes in 1950. With the Lockheed L-188 Electra joining the fleet in 1957, LAB was in the position to offer non-stop international flights. A further improvement in comfort and travel times was achieved when Lloyd Aéreo acquired its first jet aircraft (of the Boeing 727 type) in 1969, allowing for the inauguration of flights to Central America and the United States, as well as long-haul services to Madrid in Spain.
Financial difficulties and demise
From 1994 onwards, Lloyd Aéreo Boliviano was encountering rising financial difficulties. As a consequence, the Bolivian government prepared the privatization of the airline and began to negotiate with potential buyers. On 19 October 1995, Brazilian airline VASP acquired 50 percent of the LAB shares. In an effort to cut costs, VASP aimed at a full merger of the two airlines, with a similar livery and a joint frequent flyer program as initial steps. In 2001, VASP sold its shares in LAB back to Bolivian investors, though, due to the ongoing monetary constraints. On the other hand, in 2004 LAB was awarded shares in Ecuatoriana de Aviación, the national airline of Ecuador at that time, as a compensation for outstanding debts, which led to a codeshare agreement between the two airlines.
From 2006, Lloyd Aéreo had to cut flights because to its bad financial shape leased long-haul aircraft (a random mix of Airbus A310, Boeing 757, Boeing 767 or Lockheed L-1011 TriStar at that time) could not be paid for anymore. On 30 March 2007, it was decided by the Bolivian government to shut down Lloyd Aéreo Boliviano, which meant that effective on 1 April, all flight operations were suspended. In October of the same year, Boliviana de Aviación was established as new national airline of Bolivia. LAB operated a limited number of charter flights during late 2007 and early 2008 on behalf of AeroSur, but has since fully gone out of business, with its airline license officially been revoked in 2010.
During the 1930s
At that time, Lloyd Aéreo Boliviano offered mostly domestic flights, each of which with several stopovers (which was normal at a time where the range of airlines was very limited compared to today's situation). The route network had two hubs: In Cochabamba, the headquarteres of the airline, and in Santa Cruz de la Sierra. Scheduled services were offered to the following destinations:
In Corumba, passengers could connect on Syndicato Condor flights to destinations within Brazil and even to Europe. Similarly, in La Paz, connecting flights to the Peruvian towns of Arequipa and Lima were offered in co-operation with Deutsche Lufthansa Peru. Like LAB, these airlines were aiming at the German minorities in the respective countries.
During the 1960s
By then, Santa Cruz had replaced Cochabamba as the largest hub for Lloyd Aéreo Boliviano (now flag carrier of Bolivia), with another one having been opened at Trinidad Airport, and international routes being offered from La Paz Airport. The domestic network had grown to extensive size, covering most airports in the country (still relying on multiple-stopover flights). More international routes had been added, with LAB now also offering flights to Chile, Argentina and Peru. The following destinations were served on a scheduled basis in 1964, using Douglas DC-3, DC-6 or Boeing B-17G (the latter being military cargo aircraft, which could also accommodate passengers).
During the 1970s
The international network saw further expansion, most notably with the launch of scheduled flights to the United States. NOTE: The timetables serving as sources here only list a limited number of domestic destinations. Comparing with the domestic networks of the 1960s and 1980s gives reason to assume that the situation during the 1970s should have been more or less the same, though.
During the 1980s
At that time, the LAB network had been consolidated, appearing more or less in the shape it should retain until the 2000s. The largest Bolivian cities were linked with destinations all over South America, as well as in the United States (international flights usually had several stopovers). International flights as well as hub-to-hub flights were operated using Boeing 727 aircraft, whilst the Fokker F-27 and the similar FH-227 were deployed on the domestic network. From 1990, Lloyd Aéreo Boliviano moved its main hub in Santa Cruz de la Sierra from El Trompillo Airport to Viru Viru International Airport.
Prior to closure
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (May 2011)|
During the 2000s, LAB offered scheduled flights to the following destinations:
|Boeing 727-100 & 727-200||
|Consolidated C-87 Liberator Express||
|Curtiss-Wright C-46 Commando||
|Douglas C-47 Skytrain||
|Fairchild Hiller FH-227|
|Fokker F27 Friendship||
|Fokker F28 Fellowship|
|Junkers Ju 52||
|Lockheed Model 18 Lodestar||
|Lockheed L-188 Electra||
|Lockheed L-1011 TriStar|
Accidents and incidents
- On 21 August 1944, an LAB Lockheed Model 18 Lodestar (registered CB-25) was destroyed in a fire at La Paz Airport.
- On 29 May 1947, an LAB Douglas C-47 Skytrain (registered CB-32) crashed near Trinidad.
- On 10 August 1949, an LAB Curtiss-Wright C-46 Commando (registered CB-37) crashed near Rurrenabaque. In September of the same year, a Lodestar (registered CB-26) was damaged beyond repair in a shooting during the Bolivian National Revolution.
- In 1950, two LAB C-46s crashed: The one registered CB-51 near Cochabamba on 24 April, its sister aircraft CB-38 on 2 October near La Laguna Lake.
- On 1 January 1951, an LAB C-47 (registered CB-31) was damaged beyond repair in a crash-landing at La Paz Airport.
- On 3 November 1953, a Lloyd Aéreo Boliviano Douglas DC-3 (registered CP-600) crashed into a mountain near Potosí, killing the 25 passengers and 3 crew members on board. The aircraft had been on a scheduled domestic flight from Camiri to Sucre.
- On 5 September 1955, two LAB aircraft collided mid-air over Cochabamba: A DC-3 (registered CP-572) on a scheduled passenger flight, and a Boeing B-17G (CP-597) on a cargo flight. The Boeing crashed, killing all three crew members. The DC-3 managed to perform an emergency landing.
- On 25 August 1956, a cargo-configured Lloyd Aéreo DC-3 (registered CP-506) crash-landed at La Paz Airport, killing two out of the three people on board.
- On 18 March 1957, another DC-3 (registered CP-535), which had been on a passenger flight from Cochabamba to Oruro, crashed into a mountain near Sayari. All 16 passengers and 3 crew members died.
- On 31 December 1959, all 11 occupants of an LAB C-47 (registered CP-584) died when the aircraft crashed shortly after take-off from an airfield near San José de Chiquitos.
- On 5 February 1960, a Lloyd Aéreo Boliviano Douglas DC-4 (registered CP-604), that had been on a scheduled passenger flight from Cochabamba to La Paz, crashed shortly after take-off into Laguna Huañacota, a mountain lake, following an engine fire. All 55 passengers and 4 crew members lost their lives (a two-year-old girl could be saved, but later died in hospital).
- On 21 August 1962, an LAB C-47 (registered CP-536) crashed near Cochabamba Airport during a post-maintenance test flight, killing four out of the five people on board.
- On 15 March 1963 at approximately 13:55 local time, Lloyd Aéreo Boliviano Flight 915 from Arica, Chile to La Paz, that was operated by a Douglas DC-6 (registered CP-707) on this day, crashed into Chachakumani mountain, killing all 36 passengers and three crew members. At the time of the accident, there were poor visibility conditions due to bad weather.
- On 4 February 1964, an LAB C-47 aircraft (registered CP-568) crashed shortly after departing Yacuiba Airport, killing two out of the 29 people on board.
- On 3 August 1966, an LAB C-46 (registered CP-730) that had been on a cargo flight from Riberalta to Cochabamba crashed into a mountain range of the Andes, killing all three people on board. The accident likely occurred because of a navigational error of the pilot, who had chosen a wrong flight path and subsequently had flown at the wrong altitude.
- On 19 April 1968, a Lloyd Aéreo Boliviano DC-3 (registered CP-734) crashed shortly after take-off from an airstrip at Trinidad. Even though the aircraft was damaged beyond repair, there were no fatalities.
- On 26 September 1969 at around 15:10 local time, an LAB DC-6 (registered CP-968) carrying 69 passengers and 5 crew members on a scheduled flight from Santa Cruz de la Sierra to La Paz crashed into Mount Choquetanga 176 kilometres away from the destination airport. There were no survivors (a number of famous Bolivian football players had been amongst the passengers) when the wreckage was found after three days.
- On 16 December 1971, an LAB passenger flight from Sucre to La Paz was hijacked and demanded to be diverted to Chile. The aircraft landed at Cochabamba Airport instead, police forces stormed the plane and arrested the perpetrator. In the ensuing shooting, one crew member and one passenger were killed.
- On 13 October 1976 at 13:32 local time, a Jet Power Boeing 707 freighter aircraft (registered N730JP), that had been chartered by LAB to operate a cargo flight from Santa Cruz de la Sierra to Miami, crashed directly after take-off from El Trompillo Airport into a housing area and a crowded football pitch, killing the three crew members as well as 88 people on the ground, making it the deadliest air disaster in Bolivia to date. The accident had likely occurred because the pilots had not selected the correct amount of thrust, so that the aircraft did not gain sufficient height.
- On 23 January 1980, an LAB Fairchild Hiller FH-227 (registered CP-1175) ran off a taxiway whilst being on ground at Santa Ana del Yacuma Airport and went into a ditch, during which the fuel tank was ruptured by debris from the propeller. In the ensuing fire, the aircraft was destroyed, but all 15 passengers and the three crew members could be saved.
- On 2 June 1980, a Lloyd Aéreo Boliviano FH-227 (registered CP-1117) crahed into a hill whilst approaching Yacuiba Airport, killing the 13 passengers and three crew members on board.
- On 16 March 1984, another FH-227 (registered CP-862) crashed, this time in a jungle somewhere between Trinidad and San Borja, claiming the lives of the 20 passengers and three crew.
- On 23 January 1985, a passenger detonated a bomb in a lavatory on board an LAB flight from La Paz to Santa Cruz de la Sierra, killing him. The aircraft involved, a Boeing 727-200 registered CP-1276, was substantially damaged but could safely be landed. There were no fatalities among the other 119 passengers and seven crew members.
- On 31 August 1991, an LAB Boeing 707 (registered CP-1365) was destroyed in a hangar fire at Dothan Regional Airport in the United States.
- On 22 December 1994, a Lloyd Aéreo Boliviano Fokker F27 Friendship (registered CP-2165) overran the runway at Guayaramerín Airport following an attempted take-off abortion and crashed into trees. All 36 passengers and four crew members survived the accident. The planned destination of the scheduled domestic flight had been San Joaquín.
- On 9 January 2001 at 17:20 local time, the left main landing gear of an LAB Boeing 727-200 (registered CP-2323) collapsed while taxiing at Buenos Aires Ezeiza Airport prior to a scheduled flight to Santa Cruz de la Sierra. Investigator found that the accident, by which none of the 138 passengers and 8 crew members were injured but left the aircraft damaged beyond repair, happened because of corrosion damage.
- On 7 August 2004, an LAB Boeing 767-300ER (registered CP-2425) experienced a hard landing at Viru Viru International Airport following a scheduled flight from Miami, and was substantially damaged.
- On 1 February 2008 at 10:35 local time, the pilots of an LAB Boeing 727-200 (registered CP-2429) had to execute a forced landing in a jungle clearing near Trinidad due to fuel exhaustion. The aircraft carrying 151 passengers and 8 crew had been on a scheduled flight from La Paz to Cobija, when it had to divert to Trinidad due to bad weather conditions, ultimately failing make the distance with the remaining fuel. Luckily, there were no fatalities.
- "Directory: World Airlines". Flight International. 2007-04-03. p. 106.
- "World Airline Directory." Flight International. March 21–27, 2000. 91. "Aeropuerto Jorge Wilstermann, Cochabamba, Bolivia"
- Lloyd Aéreo Bolivano: Official history of the company (internet archive)
- List of defunct airlines at airlinehistory.co.uk
- List of Bolivian airlines at airlineupdate.com
- LAB 1932 timetable
- LAB 1932 route map
- LAB 1937 route map
- 1939 LAB timetable
- LAB 1964 routemap and timetable
- 1970 LAB timetable
- 1973 LAB routemap
- 1975 LAB timetable
- LAB 1987 timetable
- LAB 1988 timetable
- LAB 1990 timetable
- Information on lloyd Aéreo Boliviano at the Air Transport Database
- LAB fleet list at planespotters.net
- jp airline fleets 1978
- Davies, R.E.G., Airlines of Latin America since 1919, London 1984
- 1944 Lodestar fire at the Aviation Safety Network
- 1947 crash at the Aviation Safety Network
- 1949 crash at the Aviation Safety Network
- Lodestar 1949 loss at the Aviation Safety Network
- LAB Cochabamba crash at the Aviation Safety Network
- 1950 Laguna Lake crash at the Aviation Safety Network
- 1951 La Paz crash at the Aviation Safety Network
- 1953 crash at the Aviation Safety Network
- Information about the Boeing B-17 involved in the 1953 mid-air collision (by the Aviation Safety Network)
- Information about the DC-3 involved in the 1953 mid-air collision (by the Aviation Safety Network)
- 1956 crash at the Aviation Safety Network
- LAB 1957 crash at the Aviation Safety Network
- 1959 C-47 crash at the Aviation Safety Network
- "Child Survives Plane Crash that Kills 58." Associated Press at St. Petersburg Times. Saturday February 6, 1960. 1-A. Retrieved from Google News (1 of 26) on February 27, 2010.
- 1960 DC-4 crash at the Aviation Safety Network
- 1962 crash at the Aviation Safety Network
- 1963 LAB crash at the Aviation Safety Network
- 1964 C-47 crash at the Aviation Safety Network
- 1966 crash at the Aviation Safety Network
- 1968 crash landing
- 1969 crash at the Aviation Safety Network
- 1971 hijacking at the Aviation Safety Network
- 1976 Santa Cruz disaster
- "1976: Bolivian plane crashes in Santa Cruz." BBC. Retrieved on February 27, 2010.
- 1980 accident at the Aviation Safety Network
- June 1980 crash at the Aviation Safety Network
- 1984 crash at the Aviation Safety Network
- 1985 incident at the Aviation Safety Network
- 1991 hangar fire at the Aviation Safety Network
- 1994 crash at the Aviation Safety Network
- 2001 incident at the Aviation Safety Network
- 2004 incident at the Aviation Safety Network
- 2008 accident at the Aviation Safety Network
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