Malaysia’s abandoned plane mystery: Here’s what we know

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Kul abandoned planesThe operating company of Kuala Lumpur International Airport is trying to contact the owner of three abandoned and unmarked Boeing 747 jets that have been parked and left at Kuala Lumpur international airport for years.

In a notice in the classifieds section of two Malaysian newspapers on December 7, Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd gave the owner of the Boeing 747-200F aircraft two weeks to collect the planes, if not, the airport “reserves the right to sell or otherwise dispose of the aircraft.”

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The airport operator said although the owner of the planes was known, they had not been in contact over the removal of the planes and there has been no response despite several attempts to reach him and claim parking and other fees that added up in the past.

In a clarification after amused press reports, Malaysia Airports Holdings published a statement which hinted that the owner was a defunct international firm.

“The giving of such notice by way of advertisement is a common and reasonable step in the process of debt recovery especially in cases where the company concerned has ceased operations and is a foreign entity whereby exhaustive steps undertaken to find a contact person have not been successful,” the statement said.

The registration numbers of the aircraft are TF-ARM, TF-ARN and TF-ARH, and research shows their histories are as follows:

 

TH-ARMTF-ARM: Put into operation by Lufthansa in November 1980, then used by German Cargo, Lufthansa Cargo, Southern Air, Malaysia Airlines, Saudi Arabian Airlines, last operated by Air Atlanta Icelandic, stored at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in September 2010.

TF_ARNTF-ARN: Put into operation by Philippine Airlines in December 1980, then used by Tower Air, Southern Air, Air Atlanta Icelandic (the two latter leased the plane from GE Capital Aviation Services) and Malaysia Airlines (MASkargo. leased from Air Atlanta Icelandic). Finally stored at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in December 2010

TF-ARHTF-ARH: Put into operation by Lufthansa in December 1981, then operated by German Cargo, Southern Cargo, Tradewinds Airlines and Air Atlanta Icelandic (leased from GE Capital Aviation Services), stored at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in February 2011.

This means that the last owner of at least two jets was likely GE Capital Aviation Services, the largest commercial airline leasing company in the world, and of the third possibly Air Atlanta Icelandic.

However, an Air Atlanta Icelandic spokesman said on December 8 his company has “nothing to do” with the three unclaimed aircraft because the planes were de-registered from the Registry of the Icelandic Civil Aviation Authority in 2010 and returned to their owner. He, however, did not name the owner at that time and said to have no knowledge of who the current owner is.

(Picture credits: Andreas van den Berg, Serge Dejonckheere, AirTeamImages)

UPDATE: A new Malaysian air cargo company, Swift Air Cargo, on December 11 said it is the owner of three jets and that it was “shocked” by authorities’ claim that the owner could not be traced. Swift Air Cargo said it legally bought the planes in June and that it has since been in communication with Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad, which has demanded more documentation on the purchase.

“We are dumbfounded and perplexed by Malaysia Airport’s move. Swift is the owner and we definitely have not forgotten the planes,” said Swift’s lawyer, Syed Amir Syakib Arslan.

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

The operating company of Kuala Lumpur International Airport is trying to contact the owner of three abandoned and unmarked Boeing 747 jets that have been parked and left at Kuala Lumpur international airport for years.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Kul abandoned planesThe operating company of Kuala Lumpur International Airport is trying to contact the owner of three abandoned and unmarked Boeing 747 jets that have been parked and left at Kuala Lumpur international airport for years.

In a notice in the classifieds section of two Malaysian newspapers on December 7, Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd gave the owner of the Boeing 747-200F aircraft two weeks to collect the planes, if not, the airport “reserves the right to sell or otherwise dispose of the aircraft.”

Plane ad
Click to enlarge

The airport operator said although the owner of the planes was known, they had not been in contact over the removal of the planes and there has been no response despite several attempts to reach him and claim parking and other fees that added up in the past.

In a clarification after amused press reports, Malaysia Airports Holdings published a statement which hinted that the owner was a defunct international firm.

“The giving of such notice by way of advertisement is a common and reasonable step in the process of debt recovery especially in cases where the company concerned has ceased operations and is a foreign entity whereby exhaustive steps undertaken to find a contact person have not been successful,” the statement said.

The registration numbers of the aircraft are TF-ARM, TF-ARN and TF-ARH, and research shows their histories are as follows:

 

TH-ARMTF-ARM: Put into operation by Lufthansa in November 1980, then used by German Cargo, Lufthansa Cargo, Southern Air, Malaysia Airlines, Saudi Arabian Airlines, last operated by Air Atlanta Icelandic, stored at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in September 2010.

TF_ARNTF-ARN: Put into operation by Philippine Airlines in December 1980, then used by Tower Air, Southern Air, Air Atlanta Icelandic (the two latter leased the plane from GE Capital Aviation Services) and Malaysia Airlines (MASkargo. leased from Air Atlanta Icelandic). Finally stored at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in December 2010

TF-ARHTF-ARH: Put into operation by Lufthansa in December 1981, then operated by German Cargo, Southern Cargo, Tradewinds Airlines and Air Atlanta Icelandic (leased from GE Capital Aviation Services), stored at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in February 2011.

This means that the last owner of at least two jets was likely GE Capital Aviation Services, the largest commercial airline leasing company in the world, and of the third possibly Air Atlanta Icelandic.

However, an Air Atlanta Icelandic spokesman said on December 8 his company has “nothing to do” with the three unclaimed aircraft because the planes were de-registered from the Registry of the Icelandic Civil Aviation Authority in 2010 and returned to their owner. He, however, did not name the owner at that time and said to have no knowledge of who the current owner is.

(Picture credits: Andreas van den Berg, Serge Dejonckheere, AirTeamImages)

UPDATE: A new Malaysian air cargo company, Swift Air Cargo, on December 11 said it is the owner of three jets and that it was “shocked” by authorities’ claim that the owner could not be traced. Swift Air Cargo said it legally bought the planes in June and that it has since been in communication with Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad, which has demanded more documentation on the purchase.

“We are dumbfounded and perplexed by Malaysia Airport’s move. Swift is the owner and we definitely have not forgotten the planes,” said Swift’s lawyer, Syed Amir Syakib Arslan.

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