Transportation Ministry: Tourist planes older than 30 years will be decommissioned in August

Tourist airplanes more than 30 years old will be decommissioned in August in an attempt to improve safety after a small plane crashed last week near the famous Nazca Lines killing seven people, Transportation and Communications Minister Enrique Cornejo announced Thursday.

The policy will be extended to tourist planes older than 20 years in 2011 and require them to have at least eight seats.

“We don’t want really small planes because they are not suitable for tourism transportation,” Cornejo told state news agency Andina. He added the ministry will only provide licenses for new tourist planes that are less than 15 years old after April 5 this year.

Cornejo said the policy will update the current fleet of planes in Peru that provide tourism services to the ancient geoglyphs in Nazca, various attractions in Cusco and the Colca Canyon, located in the southern Arequipa department.

More than 130 of Peru’s 299 tourist planes are more than 30 years old, including the Cessna U206F that crashed last Thursday, daily El Comercio reported. Three Chilean tourists, three Peruvian tourists and the pilot were killed. One of the passengers was a child. The airplane was registered to the Nazca Airlines company.

Despite the age of the airplane, the general manager of the company, Franklin Horler, said the Cessna was in “perfect technical condition.”

Tourist planes flying over the Nazca lines have crashed before. In April 2008, five French tourists were killed when their plane crashed.

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