One possible motive for the LaMia disaster is that they were attempting to save money by not refueling. That may or may not be true and this is not the place to debate that.

Reports say they were supposed to refuel in Cobija, Bolivia and after the delay they would have had to refuel in Bogotá. How much would a refueling stop for that airplane have cost in Cobija and/or Bogotá?

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    $\begingroup$ @Pondlife I am not speculating about an accident as you pointed out. I just want to clear out one piece of information that is related to that accident. There is no opinion. The prices / fees and taxes of operating and refueling an aircraft in south america are facts, that is what I am asking about. $\endgroup$ Dec 9, 2016 at 18:58
  • $\begingroup$ According to the analysis in the AvHerald article, Bogotá is already beyond the legal limit. $\endgroup$
    – Jan Hudec
    Dec 10, 2016 at 22:19

1 Answer 1


It's hard to give an exact figure as their are a number of considerations. If we assume that the re-fueling stop is at El Dorado, and the airplane was a BA146 (RJ85 is a variant) then approximate costs might be (in USD):

  • Landing fee: at about \$6 per thousand kg, and 42,000 kg would be about \$250. Add 5% for a night landing and another 5% for a night departure for about \$280
  • Handling charges: this is hard to say, estimate $100
  • Jet Fuel: the BA146 can carry up to 3000 US gallons, assume 1500 as it's a short hop, at \$3.16/gallon that's \$4740

So it would seem that about \$5000 is a good working figure. Keep in mind they wouldn't have used all that fuel to get to their destination, there would have been plenty left and they wouldn't have had to fill up completely on the way back, but the most expensive part of a flight is the climb to cruising altitude, so 2 climbs are more expensive than one. There might also be ATC fees for filing another flight plan, and taxes not listed, I would imagine that wouldn't change the costs that much - the fuel is still the big chunk of the cost.

  • $\begingroup$ As you say the 2 climbs would be more expensive, it would be interesting to see the fuel burn numbers for non-stop versus making the fuel stop, as this is the true additional fuel cost of making that refueling stop. $\endgroup$
    – fooot
    Dec 9, 2016 at 15:35
  • $\begingroup$ That would help to narrow down the true costs of a stop, not information I have though. $\endgroup$
    – GdD
    Dec 9, 2016 at 15:37
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    $\begingroup$ Avherald posted data for a few non-stop flight plans that seem to have a lot of detail, it may be possible to estimate from there. $\endgroup$
    – fooot
    Dec 9, 2016 at 15:43
  • $\begingroup$ Bogotá (El Dorado) is just 100 nm closer than Medellín (Rio Negro), already beyond the range (see the mentioned AvHerald article). $\endgroup$
    – Jan Hudec
    Dec 10, 2016 at 22:48
  • $\begingroup$ Bogota was definitely farther then they should have gone, but given they almost made it to Medellin they would have made it. I chose that as a refueling stop because it had information on costs that I could use to answer, not that I thought it was the best choice. I would expect other airports to be similar. $\endgroup$
    – GdD
    Dec 11, 2016 at 10:50

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