US

Bolivia minister: country could face US aviation downgrade

Coffins carrying LaMia flight crew members who died in a plane crash are carried by soldiers to a hearse at the Viru Viru airport in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, Friday, Dec. 2, 2016. Victims of this week's tragic air crash in the Andes were flown home Friday as Bolivia's president called for "drastic measures" against aviation officials who signed off on a flight plan that experts and even one of the charter airline's executives said should never have been attempted because of a possible fuel shortage. (AP Photo/Juan Karita)

Coffins carrying LaMia flight crew members who died in a plane crash are carried by soldiers to a hearse at the Viru Viru airport in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, Friday, Dec. 2, 2016. Victims of this week's tragic air crash in the Andes were flown home Friday as Bolivia's president called for "drastic measures" against aviation officials who signed off on a flight plan that experts and even one of the charter airline's executives said should never have been attempted because of a possible fuel shortage. (AP Photo/Juan Karita)  (The Associated Press)

Bolivia's Defense Minister says the U.S. could downgrade the country's aviation safety rating because of irregularities that may have contributed to the crash of a chartered plane carrying a Brazilian soccer team.

Defense Minister Reymi Ferreri said Saturday that the approval of the plane's flight plan despite the route's distance exceeding the aircraft's fuel capacity points to a human failure that could lead to Bolivia being downgraded.

Bolivia in 2001 regained a category 1 rating from the Federal Aviation Administration after having lost the top status in 1994. If downgraded it would join only a handful of nations including Bangladesh and Thailand deemed as not meeting international aviation standards and could limit Bolivian carriers' ability to expand commercial service to the U.S.