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Democracy Aloft? Boliviana De Aviación 733/CBB-LPB  
User currently offlinevolvair From Germany, joined Oct 2011, 167 posts, RR: 0
Posted (2 years 10 months 6 days 11 hours ago) and read 15035 times:



Welcome to my 4th tripreport!

This report covers my quick flight from Cochabamba (CBB) to La Paz-El Alto (LPB) on a Boeing 737-300 of Boliviana de Aviación (BoA). As requested, I have added destination pics of Cochabamba as well as La Paz and its surroundings. Also this report contains a sizeable amount of spotting pictures taken at CBB.




Planning this short trip started out on a Monday, six days before the flight. I had no idea of what to do on the upcoming weekend as I scrapped my original plan of venturing into the mountains due to possible bad weather. The rainy season is coming up here in Bolivia and this has me changing my weekend travels away from nature and more towards cities.

After checking the weather forecasts in some easily reachable cities I decided to head to [b]Cochabamba, the third largest urban agglomeration in Bolivia after Santa Cruz and the twin cities of La Paz and El Alto. I went to Cochabamba on a comfortable night bus on Friday night (a 7-8 hour journey from La Paz, if there are no roadblocks), enjoyed the city on Saturday and flew back on Sunday at noon.

For this flight, I wanted to try out a new airline and so I went to the local office of Boliviana de Aviación (BoA). I purchased a ticket for their 1245 departure for about 34€/46$. So, on Monday evening, everything was set for my quick weekend escape.




I will elaborate a little bit on the history of BoA and show you some pictures of Cochabamba and some spotting pictures from CBB. If you are just interested in the flight, feel free to jump directly to the second post.



Boliviana de Aviación, or simply BoA, was founded by a decree from Bolivian President Evo Morales in 2007. It is no surprise that the period of the foundation coincides with the demise of the former flag carrier of Bolivia, Lloyd Aéreo Boliviano. On the webpage of BoA (http://www.boa.bo), the presidential decrees (in Spanish, of course) which provided the cornerstone for BoA, are linked. They give a nice understanding and of the reasoning behind the foundation of the airline as well as an interesting insight into its foundation process.

The following has been (certainly imperfectly) translated by me.

Selected parts from decree 29318, published on 24 October 2007 (http://boa.bo/doc/D_S_29318.pdf). The other decree (29482) contains mainly organizational guidelines (http://boa.bo/doc/D_S_29482.pdf).

Quote:
The state shall regain the leading role in the aeronautic sector (...), by direct participation in the provision of air transportation through investments oriented on sustainability and responsibility regarding quality and safety.
Quote:
To achieve this, it is necessary to democratize air transportation and to guarantee the population easier access to air transportation by integrating the various regions of the Republic, thus contributing to the economic development of the communities by furthering the productive sector and tourism.
Quote:
The government shall consider creating a company which attends the needs of the population regarding air transportation by supplying national and international routes.

This so called "democratization of air transportation" manifests itself in the comparatively low fares of BoA. In comparison to the non state-funded (e.g. private) airline AeroSur, prices for domestic trips with BoA often cost only half of AeroSur's. The situation for AeroSur has certainly dramatically changed since the appearance of BoA. While AeroSur found itself in a monopoly situation after the demise of LAB which led to a huge expansion of AeroSur, the airline now has to face fierce competition by state-owned BoA. Therefore it comes to no surprise that in 2010 AeroSur complained about this situation of unfair competition.

BoA celebrated its first flight in March 2009. The airline currently operates a fleet of six Boeing 737-300 in an all-economy configuration. The Bolivian government is in talks regarding the acquisition of several Antonov AN-148 aircraft which shall be deployed with BoA, TAM (the airline of the Bolivian Air Force) and as new presidential aircraft.

BoA has mainly been concentrating on the domestic market, while also serving major hubs like GRU or EZE. At the moment, BoA's route network sees a rapid expansion. The airline is expected to begin regular scheduled passenger service to Lima, Santiago de Chile and to the certainly politically motivated destinations Havana and Caracas in the near future. It will be interesting to take a look (however short) into the operation of this airline, and maybe compare the experience to my recent flights on AeroSur, documented here:

Of Buckets & 3-Holed Workhorses:5L 732, 722 To LPB (by volvair Nov 8 2011 in Trip Reports)



Cochabamba

I arrived at Cochabamba at around 0630 on Saturday morning, having slept about four hours on the bus ride over there. Of course, most of the city was still asleep, so I had to wait a bit for stores, cafés and museums to open. I settled down on a bench at the central square where I read my book and let the first sunrays warm my skin.


The building surrounding Cochabamba's central square


Cochabamba is probably known (if it's known at all) for two things. First, the statue Cristo de la Concordia, the highest statue of Jesus Christ in the world, at least until the completion of the Jesus Christ statue in Świebodzin, Poland in 2010. Nevertheless, it remains the highest statue in the Southern Hemisphere. The other thing might be that Cochabamba is the seat of the proposed South American Parliament, a body of the UNASUR. Yes, proposed: Almost the only thing that has been decided about this parliament is that it will be in Cochabamba.

After a filling breakfast I checked out an anthropology/archaeology museum of the local university and then I found myself a cheap hotel room in the center (4€/5.40$) where I caught up on a bit of sleep. Cochabamba also has what is probably the largest street market in the country and therefore also one among the biggest there are in South America. Especially the artisan/crafts section was much less tourist oriented than its counterparts in La Paz. None of the things on offer, however, sparked my interest. In the end, I just bought a shirt of the local soccer club Aurora which boasts a big AeroSur advertisement for about 2€ which was probably still too expensive. No photos of the market due to an abundance of pickpockets.

After that, I checked out the big statue.


Hearse in the front, Jesus in the back. How appropriate.


There is a teleferic going up the 200m high hill, so no necessity to walk up there.


The big Jeez


The hill offers spectacular views of the city. As I was at the hill around noon, the sun impaired the quality of the pictures a little.


Jorge Wilstermann Airport


The north zone of the city


Also on the other side of the hill the city continued for a while.


The inner-city lagoon


It was very nice to observe some movements at the airport from this elevated position. I spotted two BoA 733's making their way through the valley and landing.


Cochabamba's cathedral


Random street corner


In the evening I went out for some dinner. Already at 1930 some areas through which I walked appeared rather dodgy. The possible risk was worth it, however, as I ended up with a big plate of pork ribs in an orange marinade. Yum.

According to my printout of an 5 year old Lonely Planet guidebook, Cochabamba, situated at an elevation of 2500m, boasts itself to have the most pleasant and temperate climate in the country. Well, I'm far away of having seen every corner in Bolivia, so I just say the weather was pretty nice but the sun was just so very intense. Think elevation plus sun at zenith. But coming in from La Paz where temperatures tend to drop quite drastically as soon as the sun disappears behind the mountains, it was nice to enjoy a mild night.

On the next day I slept late, seeing as my departure was only at 1245 and I did not plan on doing more sightseeing. I grabbed some yummy cheese and ham croissants and took a Micro to the airport. Micros, usually old Dodge buses, form the backbone of the public transportation system in several Bolivian cities. Often, they are lovely painted.


Random Micro


Inside Micro "B", going to the airport. The journey from the central intersection takes about 15 minutes and comes in at 0.20€.


Passing by the end of the shorter runway at CBB


In the end I arrived at the airport way too early, but seeing as no online check-in or seat reservation was possible and I needed a right-hand window seats for the views this was well worth it.

Jorge Wilstermann Airport, Cochabamba


Outside CBB


Departure FIDS


Arrival FIDS


Check-in area of TAM (Transporte Aéreo Militar, the Airline of the Bolivian Air Force) and BoA


There were no lines at the check-in. I was attended by one of two present agents. After I handed him my passport it took him a while to realize that I would be on the later flight to La Paz. Getting my preferred seat in the penultimate row was no problem. I communicated with him in Spanish, so I cannot comment on the English skills of the agent. It was sad to see that BoA did not use genuine boarding passes but rather the lowcost sales slip style. Then I went to the counter of the airport authority to pay the departure tax (1,50€).


Boarding pass


Back of boarding pass with departure tax sticker


As I still had plenty of time until my flight (the whole check-in procedure took less than 5 minutes) I went outside again to check out the old Lloyd Aéreo Boliviano maintenance area where I saw some stored 727s when we drove up to the airport.

CP-2324. It also flew with Hughes Airwest, Aerolineas Argentinas, Viasa (corrections are welcome!)



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Photo © Carlos A. Morillo Doria
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Photo © Miguel Cano Alva


Wingletted CP-1367. Also used by the Bolivian Air Force



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Photo © Normando Carvalho Jr.
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Photo © Andrés Contador - AirTeamImages


Ex Champion Air N685CA. It also flew with Republic and Northwest



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Photo © Marc Hasenbein
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Photo © Jason Whitebird



But something even nicer awaited me when I turned around:


It is TAM's FAB-111 and AeroSur's CP-2498. The only two 727s in scheduled passenger service in Bolivia. I flew AeroSur's 727 in October.


Luckily, CBB features a viewing terrace with free access. So I quickly headed there. The terrace was packed with people waving goodbye to their family members and friends who were soon departing. And as there were also two 733s of BoA on the tarmac next to the 727s it was no surprise that there were hordes of people.

In the distance there were also some AeroSur 727s resting in peace.



I could identify two of them:

CP-2422, a former Mexicana bird which was also leased out to Aero Perú.


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Photo © Carlos A. Morillo Doria
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Photo © Chris Coduto



And a deregistered "Condor" color scheme wearing 727, which was former CP-2464 with LAB, and flew with American Airlines, Laker Bahamas and Ecuatoriana.


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Photo © Ryan Kaskel
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Photo © Winston Smith




Unfortunately, the fence at the viewing deck made taking pictures a little difficult.

FAB-111, TAM's only 727, flying for them since October. Notice the two flags on the middle engine. I will elaborate on this a bit later. The plane is named after Tupac Katari, a leader in the fight of the indigenous people against the Spanish Empire.


The plane flew with Continental, Sun Country Airlines, Falcon Air Express, Sol Air and Aerolineas Sudamericanas before.


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Photo © Frank C. Duarte Jr.
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Photo © Joe Pries - ATR Team


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Photo © Carlos A. Morillo Doria
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Photo © Michael Carter


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Photo © Jay Selman - AirlinersGallery
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Photo © Teemu Tuuri - FAP

CP-2684, which would later leave for Santa Cruz

CP-2554, taking off for La Paz


The viewing terrace. Notice the crowds reflecting in the window

CP-2498 taxiing for takeoff to Santa Cruz


Rotate!


I would see her again sooner than I thought


It was interesting to observe the connection procedure TAM have in place here. Those people were walking over to this Avro from another Avro which had just landed and was parked exactly at the opposite of the tarmac.


Passengers boarding


Taxiing out


TAM taking off, take one


TAM taking off, take two


After that it got quiet at the airport. I bought some chilled water from a newsstand, finished the snacks I bought in the town and enjoyed the nice weather on the viewing terrace.



About one hour before our departure my plane, CP-2552 arrived from Sucre


Around 45 minutes before departure an announcement (Spanish and English) was made in the entire airport, including on the terrace, that passengers bound for La Paz should enter the pre-boarding area. In Cochabamba, security control happens directly at the gate. The whole situation was a little confusing as passengers leaving on the Santa Cruz flight were also queuing up at the moment, albeit their plane was due to leave already in 15 minutes. A hectic BoA staff member tried to dissolve this little chaos by ushering the Santa Cruz passengers to the front of the line.


Information display in front of the pre-boarding area


Our gate with the 733 bound for Santa Cruz on the tarmac


Orderly boarding process


There are neither busses nor jetways at CBB


Anyone here who likes those shots?


Tail section


At 1220 I stepped on board.


[Edited 2011-11-19 19:37:07]

[Edited 2011-11-19 19:42:44]

43 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlinevolvair From Germany, joined Oct 2011, 167 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (2 years 10 months 6 days 11 hours ago) and read 15127 times:



13 November 2011
Boliviana de Aviación
Flight OB 12

1245-1320 (arrival 10 minutes early)
Boeing 737-300
CP-2552


The frame has flown for several airlines before its time at BoA. Among them Air Aruba, EBA - Eurobelgian Airlines, Virgin Express, Flyglobespan, dba and Air Berlin. First flight in 1991.


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Photo © JetPix
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Photo © Javier Rodriguez - Iberian Spotters


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Photo © Philippe Bleus
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Photo © A J Best


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Photo © Christian Ettelt
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Photo © Radoslaw Idaszak



I was met by some rather uninterested crew members in the rear galley. Seriously, how hard can it be to greet a passenger? Well, I turned left and located my seat.


Nice blue leather-style seats


Some wasted space behind the last row


The cabin was in an immaculate and spotless condition. If it wasn't for the overhead panel you would hardly believe that you are sitting in a frame older than 20 years. As the plane was sitting on the tarmac for quite some time now it was very hot inside the cabin and it stayed this way until takeoff. Individual air vents were strongly missed.


Classic overhead panel


Ample legroom


Seat pocket contents. No inflight magazine here on BoA


Armrest detail


During the end of boarding the rear galley flight attendant was approached by a passenger asking for earplugs for her mother. Then I noticed that at the rear cabin wall there were two little boxes with cotton earplugs. Of course I had to get me some of them.


Earplug container


BoA branded earplug package. A nice reminder


Load was about 60%, many of the passengers were part of a Russian tour group.

During the safety demo, the reminder to read the safety card actually prompted some passengers to take them out of their seat pockets and use them as fan.

We backtracked on the runway and took off already 10 minutes before our scheduled departure time. No clogged airspace here. CBB is definitely what you could define as a 'hot and high' airport, at 2500m and, at times, degrees in the high 30° centigrade. But due to our light load the takeoff did not feel that longish.



At the end of the runway


Transportes Aéreos Bolivianos - TAB Cargo DC-10-10(F), CP-2489, according to a South American forum (aeropuertosarg.com.ar) it has been here for C-Check for quite a while now with no one touching it.


During takeoff roll. Notice the 727 with special livery on the left


Airport overview


Overlooking downtown Cochabamba. Notice the hill with the statue


Heading for the mountains


Takeoff was followed by a left, then a smaller right turn and then it was pretty much straight to La Paz.


Impressive landscape below


As soon as the seatbelt signs were turned off, inflight service started. Service consisted of snack boxes containing a piece of cake and a juice box. In addition to that a tee/coffee/water service followed. Pretty impressive for a flight of 35 minutes block time!


Nature-themed snack box

Fauna in Bolivia!!! Another example of our splendid biodiversity


Contents of the snack box


My in-flight snack in its entirety


It's a piece of cake!


By the way, the route is totally stunning. If you ever find yourself flying between La Paz and Cochabamba select a seat looking north. You will have breathtaking views of the Cordillera Real.


Glaciers and mountain lakes


Imagine all this covered in snow. Well, not anymore...


Nice to read some German here half way across the planet


The landscape outside is changing quickly


Passing by Mt. Illimani, the peak unfortunately covered in snow. The mountain is a major landmark of La Paz and is visible from many points in the city. At 6438m it is the second highest mountain in Bolivia.


And much too soon we were already flying over the southern districts of La Paz


Every habitable spot is inhabited


The quarter of Miraflores with the Estadio Hernando Siles, the highest FIFA approved soccer stadium where international matches are permitted.


A little part of the bus station roof is visible at the bottom of the picture


Having left the valley that houses La Paz behind, we are already over the Altiplano on our downwind leg before landing at LPB. The mountain visible here is Huayna Potosi with 6088m. It is among the easiest climbable 6000ers in the world.


Over the outskirts of El Alto


'


'


'


The city of El Alto below us. The rim (and the city limit dividing La Paz and El Alto) is visible in the background


Churches and unpaved roads


Suddenly the town gave way to the airport


'


We touched down at the 4000m runway. In contrast to my first landing here which occured at night I now had the surroundings to orientate myself and feel how slowly we decelerated.



For a couple of seconds it does not really feel like we are decelerating


Mt. Illimani greeting the visitors of La Paz


And also some classics pay their respect to the visitors


Some classics, El Alto brick structures and mountains in the background. LPB gives you scenes you hardly see elsewhere


DC-6...


...they were used to transport meat from the lowlands to the populated areas in the Andes


Privately owned Avro with mountain in the background


Welcome to La Paz-El Alto


Last glimpse of Illimani


More traces of Europe. BA and bmibaby


Oh, and look who pulled up next to us, just in from VVI. Always nice to see an old friend.


Final cabin shots (1)


Final cabin shots (2)


Bye!


Aerocon Metroliner just in from Trinidad (TDD). Maybe soon?


Baggage claim @ LPB


It took me less than 5 minutes from my seat to the curbside where I grabbed a Minibus to downtown La Paz and less than 30 minutes later I was back in my flat.

La Paz

Some pictures of La Paz and surroundings:


18 October 2011: The TIPNIS march reaches La Paz


Those were people from the jungle lowland department Beni who protested against a planned highway which would link Brazil with the Peruvian coast. In August local communities initiated a protest march which reached La Paz after more than 60 days.

Sopocachi quarter


'

Plaza del Estudiante

Palacio Quemado


The two official flags of Bolivia. The right one is the Bolivian Whipala, which was proclaimed as second flag in the new constitution under Evo Morales. It represents the native people of the Andes.


'


In Miraflores quarter, with Mt. Illimani clearly visible


Facing Sopocachi high rises


About 20 km outside El Alto at about 4700m


Having a cold one while waiting for my ferry at Lake Titicaca


Anyone feel apocalyptic today?


On Isla del Sol in Lake Titicaca


'


This place was great for spotting. I guess an Atlas 744F bound for LIM?


Peru is in the background


'


The setting sun lights up the snow-covered mountain tops


Concluding remarks

The flight with Boliviana de Aviación was certainly a pleasant one. Clean aircraft, early arrival, very good in-flight service for a 25 minute flight. So, although the crew did not stick out with their behavior I can recommend flying BoA not least due to the relatively low prices. Comparing this flight with my domestic AeroSur VVI-LPB flight (and disregarding the more interesting aircraft at AeroSur) I have to say that I would prefer BoA due to the newer cabins and of course due to the lower prices. Service-wise I did not notice major differences between the two carriers.

BoA definitely made flying for a large part of the Bolivian population a viable alternative to the long bus journeys. So in this sense one could agree that the creation of the airline lead towards a “democratization of air transport” in the country. The airline certainly contributes more to the integration of the country than AeroSur's former monopoly and what came with it. BoA has a fixed fare structure where it does not matter if you buy the ticket a month or a week before departure, its fares are rather cheap, there is no Business class and extra ryanairesque fees do not exist. Therefore I wonder how much money the Bolivian state spends to subsidise BoA's operation. As BoA is so strongly connected to Morales' nationalization policy, and he and his policy will not be around forever, I strongly doubt that the BoA we will see right now will be around for such a long time.


Thank you for reading!

Feedback is greatly appreciated.




Earlier Tripreports

Of Buckets & 3-Holed Workhorses:5L 732, 722 To LPB (by volvair Nov 8 2011 in Trip Reports)

The Withering Ultra-Longhauler: TAM A345/MXP-GRU (by volvair Oct 22 2011 in Trip Reports)

A Failed Escape From The Drunkards: EN/Y/MUC-MXP (by volvair Oct 13 2011 in Trip Reports)


User currently offlineImpacto From Canada, joined Mar 2007, 214 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (2 years 10 months 6 days 9 hours ago) and read 14891 times:

What an amazing TR! The photos are of exceptional quality!!

User currently offlineThe777Man From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 6571 posts, RR: 55
Reply 3, posted (2 years 10 months 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 14869 times:

Hi Volvair!

Stunning report!!!! Amazing pictures from an area I have never seen covered in trip reports. Many thanks for also including pics from the cities and for the spotting pics from CBB. As recent as five years ago, I used to see those LAB 727s at IAD abput once a week.

Nice that you got a snack box on such a short flight!

I'm also curious what you are doing in Bolivia for such a long time ?

Thanks again for a fantastic report!

The777Man



Need a Boeing 777 Firing Order....Further to fly....CI, MU, LX and LH 777s
User currently offlineknightsofmalta From Malta, joined Nov 2005, 1826 posts, RR: 19
Reply 4, posted (2 years 10 months 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 14812 times:

Hi Volvair,

Those are some really stunningly beautiful pictures you've got there. Thanks for posting!
One thing I don't understand: there's a picture of passengers boarding the TAM B. 727 in CBB. Why are they all taking the front door when boarding through the back would be so much more fun?


User currently offlinePlaneHunter From Germany, joined Mar 2006, 6808 posts, RR: 77
Reply 5, posted (2 years 10 months 6 days 7 hours ago) and read 14771 times:

Hi volvair,

outstanding report with countless amazing pictures - one of the best contributions to this forum in the last few months! I really need to visit that region soon.

Also great to read about that little exotic airline!

Quoting volvair (Thread starter):
This so called "democratization of air transportation" manifests itself in the comparatively low fares of BoA. In comparison to the non state-funded (e.g. private) airline AeroSur, prices for domestic trips with BoA often cost only half of AeroSur's. The situation for AeroSur has certainly dramatically changed since the appearance of BoA. While AeroSur found itself in a monopoly situation after the demise of LAB which led to a huge expansion of AeroSur, the airline now has to face fierce competition by state-owned BoA. Therefore it comes to no surprise that in 2010 AeroSur complained about this situation of unfair competition.

BoA celebrated its first flight in March 2009. The airline currently operates a fleet of six Boeing 737-300 in an all-economy configuration. The Bolivian government is in talks regarding the acquisition of several Antonov AN-148 aircraft which shall be deployed with BoA, TAM (the airline of the Bolivian Air Force) and as new presidential aircraft.

BoA has mainly been concentrating on the domestic market, while also serving major hubs like GRU or EZE. At the moment, BoA's route network sees a rapid expansion. The airline is expected to begin regular scheduled passenger service to Lima, Santiago de Chile and to the certainly politically motivated destinations Havana and Caracas in the near future. It will be interesting to take a look (however short) into the operation of this airline, and maybe compare the experience to my recent flights on AeroSur, documented here:

Very interesting, thanks!

Quoting volvair (Thread starter):
Then I went to the counter of the airport authority to pay the departure tax (1,50€).

It's cheaper than in Indonesia.

Quoting volvair (Thread starter):
Luckily, CBB features a viewing terrace with free access. So I quickly headed there. The terrace was packed with people waving goodbye to their family members and friends who were soon departing. And as there were also two 733s of BoA on the tarmac next to the 727s it was no surprise that there were hordes of people.

Very good to know!

Quoting volvair (Thread starter):
Anyone here who likes those shots?

I certainly do!

Quoting volvair (Thread starter):
I was met by some rather uninterested crew members in the rear galley. Seriously, how hard can it be to greet a passenger?

Well, they are probably convinced that passengers should to be grateful about the carrier which brought fares down...why should they be kind to the passengers?  

Quoting volvair (Thread starter):
The cabin was in an immaculate and spotless condition.

Impressive!

Quoting volvair (Thread starter):
Nature-themed snack box

Very nice, I'm wondering who was first - Boliviana or LAN?


PH



Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
User currently offlineMSS658 From Belgium, joined Oct 2010, 2474 posts, RR: 15
Reply 6, posted (2 years 10 months 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 14544 times:

Hi volvair

Amazing trip report, It was a very enjoyable read! I'm stunned by the landscaping pics, there are no words for this!
Good luck on catcing the 733 as well

Greetings
Marc



Next trip report: Well worn A330s and Hassle free MUC transfer
User currently offlinevolvair From Germany, joined Oct 2011, 167 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (2 years 10 months 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 14497 times:

Great so see some comments here, keep them coming!


Hi Impacto,

Quoting Impacto (Reply 2):
What an amazing TR! The photos are of exceptional quality!!

I'm glad you enjoyed it.


Hi Lars,

Quoting The777Man (Reply 3):
Stunning report

thanks!

Quoting The777Man (Reply 3):
Amazing pictures from an area I have never seen covered in trip reports

I'm glad I could show you something new.

Quoting The777Man (Reply 3):

I'm also curious what you are doing in Bolivia for such a long time ?

Interning.


Hi knightsofmalta,

Quoting knightsofmalta (Reply 4):
Thanks for posting!

You are very welcome.

Quoting knightsofmalta (Reply 4):
Why are they all taking the front door when boarding through the back would be so much more fun?

Shows that basic sociological mechanisms are more powerful than the general polpulation's aircraft enthusiasm  



Servus PH, thanks for stopping by!

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 5):
one of the best contributions to this forum in the last few months!

Thanks, I feel flattered!

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 5):
I really need to visit that region soon

I'd be happy to give some advice.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 5):
It's cheaper than in Indonesia.

Well, international departure tax is 25 USD, that hurts.


Hi Marc, thanks for your feedback,

Quoting MSS658 (Reply 6):
I'm stunned by the landscaping pics, there are no words for this!

Bolivia is a great country with a multi-faceted nature and landscape, high mountains, jungle lowlands, unique lakes...


User currently offlineCaptainRed From Germany, joined Oct 2010, 686 posts, RR: 20
Reply 8, posted (2 years 10 months 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 14479 times:

Hi volvair,

another great report, really enjoyed reading it. Thanks for also putting up some pics about La Paz, Cochabamba and Lake Titicaca, really stunning, must be an awesome place to visit.

Also great to read something about Boliviana, certainly an airline we don't read here very often about. Quite impressed by their service on such a short flight, and for a great fare as well. They obviously have taken the idea of that snackbox with the nature design from LAN.

Greetings
CaptainRed


User currently offlinesultanils From Belgium, joined Mar 2010, 1719 posts, RR: 30
Reply 9, posted (2 years 10 months 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 14385 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Hola volvair!

What a fantastic piece this is with some amazing photos! It very much reminded of my travels to Peru some 8 years ago. South America is really fascinating and some places are of an unknown beauty. You showed that here, thanks for that.
I really like the fact you do some research on the airline & aircraft. Seeing all these oldies and their history is really fascinating. And these ticket prices... You can get flights elsewhere in the world for the same price but the views here are really one of a kind.

Quoting volvair (Thread starter):
Outside CBB

That looks like a rather modern building.

Quoting volvair (Thread starter):
Check-in area of TAM (Transporte Aéreo Militar, the Airline of the Bolivian Air Force) and BoA

So this airline is military owned and does scheduled flights?

Quoting volvair (Thread starter):
The plane is named after Tupac Katari, a leader in the fight of the indigenous people against the Spanish Empire.

Interesting to see that the aircraft's name is sported on the engine rather than on the front fuselage.

Quoting volvair (Thread starter):
Virgin Express

That's an airline I was familiar with, I even have flown this one back in the days! Cool to see where it is living it's life now.

Quoting volvair (Thread starter):
You will have breathtaking views of the Cordillera Real.

Most impressive, just like the Alps but then again different as well...

Quoting volvair (Thread starter):
Anyone feel apocalyptic today?

What a great dramatic shot.

Quoting volvair (Thread starter):
On Isla del Sol in Lake Titicaca

I visited that place as well, and also Isla Amantani! Great to relive this.

Sultanils



In thrust we trust.
User currently offlinevolvair From Germany, joined Oct 2011, 167 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (2 years 10 months 6 days ago) and read 14338 times:

Hi CaptainRed,

Quoting CaptainRed (Reply 8):
another great report, really enjoyed reading it

Glad you enjoyed it.

Quoting CaptainRed (Reply 8):
Quite impressed by their service on such a short flight

Yes, definitely.



Hi Nils,

Quoting sultanils (Reply 9):
What a fantastic piece this is with some amazing photos!

Thanks!

Quoting sultanils (Reply 9):
So this airline is military owned and does scheduled flights?

Transporte Aéreo Militar (often called Tambo or TAM-MIL) has been around since the 1940s and has mainly focused on connecting the most remote villages in the rainforest. It is the civilian wing of the Bolivian Air Force. It has seen a massive upgauge of operations since Morales (I read about something of a 500% increase in pax numbers between 2003 and 2009). The reasoning behind is the same as with BoA. If you want to see the impact of those airlines on domestic flights in Bolivia, just look at the picture of the departure board. Fares are about the same with both airlines.

It is an interesting airline for us enthusiasts not least because of its diverse fleet including a 727-200, a Fokker F-27, a Casa C-212 and two Xi'an Ma-60 next to a couple of BAe 146-200. The last two types are a product of a modernization strategy in place since 2007, the same year BoA was founded per presidential decree.


User currently offlinesultanils From Belgium, joined Mar 2010, 1719 posts, RR: 30
Reply 11, posted (2 years 10 months 6 days ago) and read 14325 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Quoting volvair (Reply 10):
It is an interesting airline for us enthusiasts not least because of its diverse fleet including a 727-200, a Fokker F-27, a Casa C-212 and two Xi'an Ma-60 next to a couple of BAe 146-200.

Great! I guess you know what to do then  

Sultanils



In thrust we trust.
User currently offlineFLIEGER67 From Germany, joined Sep 2003, 5170 posts, RR: 55
Reply 12, posted (2 years 10 months 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 14123 times:

Hi, O.,

superb.
That´s what I´am looking for since you told me about something upcoming like that.
Really good landscape pictures and also you´re story, sure worth to read, well done.
It seems flying in Bolivia is really something to do more often, isn´t it?.

Quoting volvair (Thread starter):
Anyone here who likes those shots?

Absolutely no idea!.

Greetings,
Markus(FLIEGER67)



Next: Capital travel on schedule!.
User currently offlinedeltamartin From Sweden, joined Dec 2010, 1061 posts, RR: 7
Reply 13, posted (2 years 10 months 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 14069 times:

Hi volvair!

Again a great tripreport of yours!

Some really spectacular photos in your report. Especially love the pictures from the flight, of course.  

Service for that short flight looks nice too.

Thanks for posting!

Martin


User currently offlinevolvair From Germany, joined Oct 2011, 167 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (2 years 10 months 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 13909 times:

Good to see some more comments here!

Quoting sultanils (Reply 11):
I guess you know what to do then

I'll try to get on some flights with them, but as the saying goes: Too many planes, too little spare time (I know it goes something like that). Chances are close to zero for the F27 (not sure if operating), C-212 (only to remote communities) and MA-60 (only one operating). But maybe another ride on a 727? I will most probably end up on one of the B462s though.


Hi Markus, thanks for commenting!

Quoting FLIEGER67 (Reply 12):
Really good landscape pictures and also you´re story, sure worth to read, well done.

Thanks, I'm glad you liked it.

Quoting FLIEGER67 (Reply 12):
It seems flying in Bolivia is really something to do more often, isn´t it?.

Definitely. Rare aircraft, exotic airlines, stunning landscapes, affordable prices... hard to say no to flying here.


Hi Martin, thanks for your feedback,

Quoting deltamartin (Reply 13):

Again a great tripreport of yours!
Quoting deltamartin (Reply 13):

Thanks for posting!

You are very welcome! I'm glad you enjoyed it.


User currently offline767747 From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 1939 posts, RR: 24
Reply 15, posted (2 years 10 months 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 13844 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

What a wonderful report! The photos are spectacular; especially the one of the water and clouds!

How interesting to read about an airline that is so unique to this forum. Looks like you had a good flight with them!

Thanks for sharing,

Matthew (767747)


User currently offlineglobalflyer From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 928 posts, RR: 3
Reply 16, posted (2 years 10 months 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 13562 times:

Seriously this was one of the best TR's I have ever read. The pictures were amazing. Mt. Illimani is the final resting place of the Eastern 727-225 that crashed into the mountain on January 1st, 1985. I am not sure that the remains were ever recovered? I had never heard of TAM in Bolivia and its interesting colour scheme! Excellent report and thanks for sharing!

Cheers, William



Landing on every Continent almost on an annual basis!
User currently offlinevolvair From Germany, joined Oct 2011, 167 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (2 years 10 months 4 days 22 hours ago) and read 13506 times:

Hi Matthew, thanks for commenting!

Quoting 767747 (Reply 15):
What a wonderful report!
Quoting 767747 (Reply 15):
Thanks for sharing

You are welcome. I'm glad you liked it.



Hi William, thanks for commenting.

Quoting globalflyer (Reply 16):
Seriously this was one of the best TR's I have ever read. The pictures were amazing.

I'm glad you enjoyed it so much!

Quoting globalflyer (Reply 16):
Mt. Illimani is the final resting place of the Eastern 727-225 that crashed into the mountain on January 1st, 1985. I am not sure that the remains were ever recovered?

Thanks for this information! I have never heard about this crash before, but there have been so many in Bolivia...
Apparently, climbers have found remains of the aircraft and some of the passengers' belongings in 2006. But as the glacier continues to retreat chances rise for a recovery of the entire aircraft and the flight data recorder.

I found a stunning article, published in NYT about the increasing number of crashed aircraft discovered in the Andes due to melting ice:

Quote:
In 2006, a climbing team on Mount Illimani, Bolivia’s second-highest peak, rediscovered the wreckage of a Boeing 727 operated by Eastern Air Lines that crashed into the mountain shortly after takeoff on Jan. 1, 1985, killing all 29 people aboard.

No bodies were found at the time of the crash or during the 2006 ascent. But Roberto Gómez, 28, a climber who retrieved part of the Boeing’s fuselage, said it was only a matter of time before they surface as the glacier on Illimani melts. He has already found photographs, children’s clothing and, strangely, what seemed to be crocodile hides from the cargo hold at the crash site.

“The bodies and the black box are still somewhere in the ice,” he said.
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/16/wo...a.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1&ref=world

Quoting globalflyer (Reply 16):
I had never heard of TAM in Bolivia and its interesting colour scheme!

Me neither before I planned my stay here in Bolivia. They certainly are a more obscure airline than BoA, lacking international operations and online booking possibilities. BoA at least has a website with a booking engine, but it did not work for my flight.


User currently offlinebuck3y3nut From United States of America, joined Jul 2006, 880 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (2 years 10 months 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 13395 times:

wow. a great detailed report with amazing pictures... Thanks a bunch for writing this report & sharing it with us  
Cheers


User currently offlineCheco77 From Peru, joined Oct 2004, 1345 posts, RR: 8
Reply 19, posted (2 years 10 months 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 13362 times:

Another excelent report volvair!!! Thanks for sharing!!!

Supposedly, BoA is starting a service to LIM in January or February. If they really do start it, I will surely hop on their flight and finally visit Bolivia!!! Right now, flight from LIM to Bolivia are soooo expensive!!! At least 800 dollars for a 1.5hrs flight. The hope is, BoA will lower the fares!

Btw, have you been in Sucre yet? I heard it is the most beautiful city in Bolivia, but no one I know has gone there. Maybe you can say something about it!!

Have a great day in Bolivia. Greetings from Peru,

Adam



Czech Boeing lover living in Lima
User currently offlinereifel From Germany, joined Feb 2005, 1361 posts, RR: 1
Reply 20, posted (2 years 10 months 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 13311 times:

Thanks for this excellent report! I loved the insights and the pictures.

User currently offlinedebonair From Germany, joined Jan 2004, 2430 posts, RR: 4
Reply 21, posted (2 years 10 months 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 13280 times:

OUTSTANDING pictures! Nice to see such a B727 heaven...   

Quoting volvair (Thread starter):
It was interesting to observe the connection procedure TAM have in place here. Those people were walking over to this Avro from another Avro which had just landed and was parked exactly at the opposite of the tarmac.

AFAIK, TAM is only operating BAe146's and not AVRO's!


User currently offlinevolvair From Germany, joined Oct 2011, 167 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (2 years 10 months 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 13276 times:

Hey buck3y3nut, thanks for the feedback!

Quoting buck3y3nut (Reply 18):
Thanks a bunch for writing this report & sharing it with us

You are very welcome!



Ahoj Adam, thanks for commenting. Glad you enjoyed the report.

Quoting Checo77 (Reply 19):
Right now, flight from LIM to Bolivia are soooo expensive!!! At least 800 dollars for a 1.5hrs flight. The hope is, BoA will lower the fares!

I know, of course I checked out the fares to Peru and also neighboring countries, but prices are so very steep here in S/A, especially compared to the bus journeys. Cheapest international flight I found is SkyAirlines La Paz-Arica flight. But with taxes its already 180 USD roundtrip, which is already quite expensive for 50 minute flight time. Do not expect too much price-wise from BoA, their fares to EZE, for example, are also not that low. 500 USD for a roundtrip ex LPB. So their international prices do not match their low domestic prices. I expect prices to LIM to be lower than the 800 USD you quoted though. Lets hope the increasing competition lowers the prices across the board.

Quoting Checo77 (Reply 19):

Btw, have you been in Sucre yet? I heard it is the most beautiful city in Bolivia, but no one I know has gone there. Maybe you can say something about it!!

Guess what, it's scheduled for next weekend   Will not be there for such a long time though, but a little sightseeing and shopping should be possible.




Hi reifel, thanks for your feedback!

Quoting reifel (Reply 20):
Thanks for this excellent report! I loved the insights and the pictures.

You're welcome.


User currently offlinePalmjet From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2001, 1223 posts, RR: 17
Reply 23, posted (2 years 10 months 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 13243 times:

Fantastic report! I loved every word and pic. Some amazing views and a very rare route and carrier to report on. Thanks so much for taking the time to complete this.

Nice to see some pics of La Paz as well. It's not a place that gets a lot of publicity really. The mountain scenery is stunning from the ground and the air.

Looking forward to your next report(s)!

Cheers P/jet



Eastern - Number One To The Sun
User currently offlinegabrielchew From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2005, 3270 posts, RR: 12
Reply 24, posted (2 years 10 months 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 13227 times:

Nice report, thanks for sharing

Quoting volvair (Thread starter):
Anyone feel apocalyptic today?

AMAZING photo! Really nice!



http://my.flightmemory.com/shefgab Upcoming flights:MAN-LHR-ARN-OSL-TOS-LYR-OSL-CPH-LHR,LCY-ARN-AMS-LGW-DXB-BKK-HKG-TPE-
25 Post contains images volvair : Great to read some more comments here! Hi debonair, thanks for commenting. Yes, you are right of course. Thanks for the correction Hi Palmjet, thanks
26 Post contains images Tigerguy : Well, it looks like somebody's trying to make it on my "Must Read" list. I guess I'll just have to look at your next report to see if you make the cut
27 Post contains images Checo77 : Definitely please report on Sucre (at least to me by message) so I can decide if to go or not to go Adam
28 Post contains images FlyingFinn76 : Hi Volvair, What an absolutely amazing report! These reports about your adventures in South America just keep getting better and better! Very interest
29 volvair : Hi Tigerguy, thanks for dropping a few lines. Glad you liked the report. At least now I have a goal for my next TR! Totally agree. Most times the best
30 Post contains images stipica : dear volvair you know how to break through the the stars ... speechless ... for me Bolivia is an exotic theme and your trip report made ​​me to "o
31 ba319-131 : Great report and pictures, did enjoy, thanks for posting. BOA is quite a rare carrier for A.NET so this was particularly interesting to read and see t
32 123 : All your reports starting with your MXP departure, are thrilling and I wish you congratulations for the fantastic reports of airlines I am so used to
33 volvair : Good to see some more replies here! Hi stipica, thanks for your feedback. I am glad you enjoyed this report! Do so! It's great down here. But then...
34 signol : Excellent, thank you! Good to see the classic planes don't always go to the desert to die, but can be kept alive providing good service! And thanks fo
35 Post contains images akhmad : Hola volvair, What a treat! What a beauty! I am running out superlatives to describe this nicely written report of yours. Bolivia must be grateful of
36 volvair : Hi signol, Thanks, glad you like it! Hi Suryo, thanks for stopping by! Thank you very much for your encouraging comment. Good to hear you liked the re
37 Post contains images Mortyman : Lots of B727's - Love it ! Thanx for this report
38 Post contains images RICARIZA : It's been a long time since I completely read a TR.. you made me do it.. what a great one.. I appreciate all your comments and pictures.. thank you !
39 avion660 : I echo all the other complimentary comments here: thanks for an excellent read. I have thoroughly enjoyed all your Bolivia reports: it's a long time s
40 volvair : Hey guys, Thank you very much for all the positive feedback, very much appreciated! Well, for any 727 enthusiast Bolivia is a great and a sad place at
41 JL418 : Volvair, congrats again! My knowledge of Bolivia was limited to some chatting with a La Paz-born bartender in Rome and Top Gear's Bolivian special (pl
42 okapi : Hola! Many thanks for sharing this trip with us. One of the most interesting TR I've read in weeks, really. Bolivia is a fantastic country and you've
43 volvair : Great to see some more comments on this thread! Ciao Fabrizio, thank you for writing a few lines. Not only threatening, but actually doing. Thanks a l
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