Offering more proof that print advertising can still yield results, the case of the mysterious 747s of Kuala Lumpur has been solved… maybe. A few days after the operators of Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) ran an advertisement about three allegedly abandoned 747-200s that had been sitting unclaimed on their tarmac for more than a year, the owners have stepped forward.
On Dec. 7, KLIA operator Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad (MAHB) placed ads in the local newspapers asking that the owner claim the aircraft within the next 14 days or the airport would sell them. Today, a carrier that calls itself Swift Air Cargo – a name that is in the process of being changed from “Splunk n’ Dash Sdn Bhd,” and no, we’re not making this up – said it legally bought the planes this past June and has been in communication with MAHB. The attorney for Swift, Syed Amir Syakib Arslan, said they “definitely had not forgotten the planes.”
Nonetheless, the MAHB has asked for further documentation to prove that the aircraft do, in fact, belong to the new carrier. Swift said it has original supporting documents to show ownership of the Boeing aircraft, which were signed by the previous owner. Syed Amir Ibrahim and Co., Solicitors, witnessed the bill of sale. The attorney said Swift is only liable for parking fees since June 2015, when it legally bought the planes, but it was willing to negotiate with the MAHB.
According to the Swift website, the carrier was founded by Captain Blue Petersen and Sun Fai Li. Blue was previously CEO of Bangkok-based cargo airline SukhoThai Airways and had also been chief pilot of IndiGo. In a statement, Swift said it “is understandably very concerned when MAHB declares to the world that ‘exhaustive steps’ were taken to find a contact person, yet Swift has been meeting with MAHB on a consistent basis.” Swift claims it has been meeting with the airport operator since June 17 on a regular basis, with the last meeting on Oct. 12.
Research by Air Cargo World’s sister publication, Cargo Facts, found that the three freighter-converted 747-200s had been registered to Iceland-based ACMI lessor Air Atlanta Icelandic (AAI) and that the most recent customer for two of the aging aircraft was MASkargo, the cargo arm of Malaysia Airlines. An AAI spokesman told the Singapore press that the three freighters had since been returned to their owners in 2010. Records also showed that the two freighters had exited the MASkargo fleet years ago, with no trace of any further leases or any change of ownership.
So the case has gone from one mystery to another. To see the full press release from swiftwaircargo.com, click here.
Pictured: Captain Blue Petersen