Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
During the company's early stages, it faced major competition from Peru's flag carrier, Aeroperu. But Aeroperu faced economical problems and Aero Continente began to gain ground on its main rival. After the demise of Aeroperu in 1998, Aero Continente became Peru's largest international air carrier.
Aero Continente set up a subsidiary in Chile during the mid 1990s, Aero Continente Chile. However, the Chilean government accused the airline's personnel of using their airplanes for trafficking drugs and subsequentially shut down Areo Continente Chile and seized their assets. Areo Continente accused the Chilean government of working to undermine Aero Continente in order to benefit LAN Chile.
In January 2004, Aero Continete's founder, Fernando Zevallos , was banned from entering the United States by American immigration officials. That same year, Aero Continente planes were banned from entering United States airspace due to safety concerns the US government had. On June 1, 2004, the United States Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control added the airline to its Listing of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons, making it illegal for Americans to trade with the company in any way. The same day, US President George W. Bush designated Fernando Zevallos as a "foreign narcotics kingpin" and imposed sanctions upon him. The United States government had long suspected that Aero Continente was being used to launder money from drug traffickers. The airline's directors denied any connection with drug dealing.
The addition of the airline to the Listing of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons devastated Aero Continente. Because Global Aerospace , Aero Continente's insurer, is partially owned by Americans, Global Aerospace suspended all buisness with Aero Continente. Peruvian law requires that airlines operating in Peru have insurance, and Aero Continente was shut down as a result.
Aero Continente was reorganized and renamed Nuevo Continente in July 2004. The United States Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control added Nuevo Continente to its list of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons.
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