Begun in 1973, Aeroperu was the result of a merger of two other airlines: APSA and Satco. At first, the airline was largely controlled by the Peruvian Air Force.
Aeroperu grew into an international airline while also developing a large, jet airplane route system domestically. Peru's flag carrier was able to obtain Fokker F-28, Boeing 727, McDonnell Douglas DC-8 (from Viasa), Douglas DC-10s and Lockheed L-1011s before the decade of the 1980s rolled along. In 1981, Aeroperu was privatized. Aeroperu's main concern was with South American routes, although it did serve Benito Juarez International Airport in Mexico City as well as Miami.
In the 1990s, economic trouble led to the adquisition of 47 percent of the airline to Aeromexico. Aeroperu then re-introduced a new livery, similar to that of Aeromexico. Boeing 757s were also bought.
On October 2, 1996, AeroPeru Flight 603, a Boeing 757 that was enroute from Lima's Jorge Chavez International Airport to Arturo Merino Benitez International Airport in Santiago, Chile crashed in the waters of the Pacific Ocean. Everyone on board died.
The Flight 603 incident ultimately led to the airline's demise. Because one of the passengers on the plane was a jailmate who was being extradited to Argentina, many suspected that the Peruvian Mafia had sabotaged the plane. Aeroperu could not recover from this tragic blow, however, and in 1997, it stopped flying.
Its safety record at the time of flight cessation rated an “F", the lowest grade possible, according to Air Rankings Online (see rankings at Airline Rankings). Rankings are cumulatives, based on the number of fatal accidents per million flights that the carrier has flown since 1970.
Aeroperu's last livery featured a grey on the top and under fuselage, with dark blue and red cheatlines, the Peruvian flag over the front passenger windows, the tail covered in dark blue, but with the name Aeroperu inscribed in wite, and a inca symbol in white.