For part 1 in this series see: Covering Peru Like the Sun: AeroPerú in the 1970s
With the economic clouds darkening AeroPerú returned its two Tristars and instead acquired three ex-Alitalia Douglas DC-8-62s. These would form the long haul fleet into the 1990s along with an ex-Swissair DC-8-62 and an ex-United DC-8-52 added in 1982 and 1983 respectively. Nevertheless even with the new DC-8s arriving two of the three US routes (Los Angeles and New York) were dropped leaving Miami as the only US gateway.
The 1980s were not kind to Peru. When the military government allowed elections in 1980 it also had the unintended consequence of unleashing the Maoist political group Shining Path, which began a guerilla war, funded by the proceeds of drug cultivation. The conflict quickly escalated, when the military intervened, into a full blown civil war with atrocities on both sides. This wasn't the nation's only problems as economic mismanagement along with a powerful El Nino in 1982/83 combined to cause both flooding, drought and rampant inflation.
By June 1985 AeroPerú's active fleet consisted of 3 F28, 3 727-100, 1 DC-8-52 and 4 DC-8-62. Considering the 1973 build F28s were the newest aircraft in the fleet it is clear money was in short supply. The only new addition to the fleet during the second half of the 1980s was a 5th DC-8-62, which replaced the remaining DC-8-52. This aircraft, which became OB-R1323, was a 1968 build ex-Japan Air Lines aircraft. Unfortunately the overall fleet size did not increase as on October 25, 1988 one of the trusty F28s (OB-R-1020) was destroyed when she failed to get properly airborne from Juliaca and crashed a few kilometres beyond the runway. Twelve of the 69 passengers were killed.
The Peruvian economy continued to suffer between 1985 and 1990 with several changes of currency due to the frequent bouts of hyperinflation. The nation's GDP dropped by 20% and the per capita annual income of Peruvians fell to a lower level than in 1960. Unsurprisingly even at the best of times a government led national carrier from a relatively poor nation would struggle to be profitable but given the economic and political turmoil of Peru at the time it was effectively impossible for AeroPerú to make money, especially when it competed against relatively rich and well run US carriers on the all important Lima-Miami route.
The best AeroPerú could do was lease old aircraft, although it did acquire its largest aircraft since the Tristars in the form of an ex-SAS DC-8-63 in early 1990. This aircraft looks like it introduced a new livery. Gone were the cheatlines replaced by a business like but still attractive red bellied scheme. This was gradually applied to the DC-8-62s even as they neared the end of their careers with the airline. By now the DC-8-62s, all of late 1960s vintage, were well beyond their prime as passenger airliners and AeroPerú had acquired a reputation for poor service and reliability. AeroPerú needed new equipment and for that it either needed to pool its resources or get new investment. It would try both approaches as we'll see in part 3.
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: