For previous parts of this Peruvian blog series see:
AeroPerú's future was in the balance as the airline entered into the 1990s and it wasn't the only Peruvian airline in financial trouble. Faucett ( Compania de Aviacion Faucett ) was the oldest airline in Peru, having been founded in 1928 by a group of business people led by the American 'Elmer Faucett'. The fleet included Douglas DC-6Bs by 1960 and Boeing 727-100s from 1968. The airline continued to replace its piston liners with jets as new BAC One-Eleven 475s joined in 1971. Although the airline had permission to operate internationally it only flew on domestic routes at least until around 1978 when 707s began to join the fleet. These may have been largely used as freighters but a Miami passenger service was also served. Unfortunately this didn't protect it from the worsening economic situation that similarly afflicted AeroPerú.
In 1981 a merger was touted with AeroPerú, which eventually came to nothing and only a year later the One-Elevens were repossessed by BAC. The airline's owner fled the country in 1982 when a bank he owned wa shutdown by the Government due to irregularities. Thankfully Faucett was bought out by the owners of the Peruvian cargo airline Aeronaves del Peru. They transferred some DC-8s to the fleet and the airline muddled through the 1980s in a similar manner to AeroPerú, by leasing relatively old and cheap secondhand aircraft - mainly 727-100s and 737-200s. Faucett was similarly impacted as AeroPerú by the cancellation of its rights to fly to the USA and the Miami route was not restarted straight away.
Meanwhile AeroPerú attempted to find some more modern equipment than its DC-8s. In January 1990 a Britannia Boeing 767-204 was leased for a 6 month period. She retained her UK registration (G-BLKV) and the majority of her Britannia livery but had AeroPerú titles and tail logo added. Obviously her lease was too expensive for the airline as she was returned in mid-May and instead a joint capacity sharing arrangement was sought with AeroPerú's old domestic rival Faucett.
Faucett had seemingly been keen to restart international passenger services itself and in December 1991 acquired a former Eastern Air Lines Lockheed Tristar 1. This aircraft became OB-1455 but had previously been N301EA. It was the third Tristar built (and the first production aircraft), which had been delivered to Eastern as N301EA on March 24 1973. She had also seen service with Air America in May 1989 until May 1991. The aircraft went into service in a primarily white livery, but carrying both airline's titles and tail logos. This co-operation was sadly short-lived and the AeroPerú titles were removed at the end of March 1992.
The need for teamwork between the Peruvian airlines was more important than ever as their main US competitor Eastern Air Lines had just gone bankrupt and sold its Miami gates and Latin American network to the vastly more powerful and competent Bob Crandall led American Airlines. This was made even more problematic by a personal relationship between Robert Crandall and Peru's President Alberto Fujimori. Fujimori had become President in 1990 voted in to be tough on on insurgency groups like Shining Path and deal with the economy. This he certainly did, going as far in 1992 to dissolve congress, eliminate the constitution, call new congressional elections and undertake radical economic reforms.
These reforms included privatising state assets such as AeroPerú. By this time the airline had substantial debts, a reputation for poor service and needed a lot of investment. The sale process appears to have been far from simple. At first it looked like on December 16, 1992 the airline was sold by public auction with 70% going for $41 million to the shipping company Naviera Santa S.A. who also owned its longtime competitor Faucett. Despite this on January 25, 1993 this deal appears to have fallen through or been nullified as AeroPerú was sold again this time to Aeromexico's owner CINTRA Group. They acquired a controlling 47% for $54 million. The government kept 20% with 10% going to employees, 21% to Serminco (a Peruvian company) and 2% to Mrs Zapata de Papini (a private Peruvian citizen and wife of one Aeromexico's directors).
Finally with the backing of the CINTRA Group AeroPerú was able to renew its fleet using ex-Aeromexico and Mexicana 727s and DC-10s. Later 757s would also be added. The new owners swiftly adopted new colours that aligned themselves with Aeromexico's but rather alienated its Peruvian clientele. Nonetheless by October 1994 AeroPerú had improved its share of the vital Lima-Miami route from 25-32%. Faucett meanwhile had seen its share of the route decrease from 30-21% although its flights were often full. American Airlines still had the largest share of traffic at 40%.
Faucett's long haul fleet had changed somewhat in the intervening time period since its jv with AeroPerú had ceased. The original Tristar, OB-1455, was retired by January 1993 and scrapped. She was replaced in September 1992 by another ex-Eastern aircraft, N330EA, which became OB-1504 'Elmer Faucett'. A second Tristar would be added in December 1993 - this time and ex-TWA aircraft, N31021, would become OB-1545.
This was no doubt made worse by a crash of a 737 in February, which killed 123 people. Then in July 1997 a pilots strike closed the carrier down. By the end of November 1998 it was effectively out of money and restructuring was underway but infighting didn't help this effort and the airline collapsed for good on November 15, 1999. Ironically this was 7 months after AeroPerú itself had been forced to close (a story for another time perhaps). The primary networks of both airlines were swallowed up by American Airlines and newly formed LAN Perú. Faucett's last Tristar (OB-1659) had been stored at Miami since February 1998 ending the big trijet's second and last spell in Peru.
Magnusson, M. Latin Glory: Airlines of Latin America. Airlife
McClintock, C & Vallas, F. The United States and Peru: Cooperation at a Cost
Morton, J.K. Flying Colours: Airlines Colour Schemes of the 1990s, Airlife
Stinsson, D. AeroPeru Flies Higher With Brand New Image. 1994
1998. Deluge of Troubles Flood Peru. Flight Global
1993. Peruvian government upholds sale of Aeroperu to Aeromexico consortium. UPI Archives
I'm Richard Stretton: a fan of classic airliners and airlines who enjoys exploring their history through my collection of die-cast airliners. If you enjoy the site please donate whatever you can to help keep it running: