The plane, operated by Bolivia charter company LaMia, crashed near Medellin because the pilot had failed to refuel en route and did not report engine failures caused by the lack of fuel until it was too late, Colombian officials said on Monday.
Colonel Freddy Bonilla, Colombia’s secretary for air safety, said: “No technical factor was part of the accident, everything involved human error, added to a management factor in the company’s administration and the management and organisation of the flight plans by the authorities in Bolivia.”
He added that Bolivian aviation authorities and the airline “accepted conditions for the flight presented in the flight plan that were unacceptable”.
As well as a lack of fuel, the aircraft was nearly 400kg (881lbs) over its weight limit and was not certified to fly at the altitude at which the journey took place, Colonel Bonilla said.
The BAE 146 Avro RJ85 aircraft has a maximum range of 1,600 nautical miles – just under the distance between Medellin and Santa Cruz, Bolivia, where the plane had set off from.
The preliminary conclusions coincide with those made by Bolivian authorities last week.
Pilot Miguel Quiroga was also a co-owner of the airline and was killed in the crash.
Gustavo Vargas Gamboa, LaMia’s chief executive, was jailed pending trial earlier this month on manslaughter and other charges. He denies the charges.
His son, Gustavo Vargas Villegas, is also being held on charges he misused his influence as a former Bolivian aviation authority official, to authorise the licence of the plane. He has also denied the charges.
Criminal charges have been brought against LaMia co-owner Marco Antonio Rocha Benegas, whose whereabouts are unknown, and air traffic controller Celia Castedo, who has fled Bolivia and claimed asylum in Brazil.
The aircraft had been transporting the Chapecoense team to the club’s biggest game in its history – the final of the Copa Sudamericana.
All but three of the players and staff onboard were killed. Two crew members and one reporter also survived.