Three 747-200s are sitting on the ground at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), waiting to be claimed by their owner, but no one has come forward to collect them. Airport officials are searching for the rightful owners, but it would appear the aging aircraft – two in passenger configuration and one a freighter – have been abandoned, since they’ve been on the tarmac for more than a year.
In a last-ditch effort to notify the mystery owners, Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad (MAHB), the operator of KLIA took out ads in two local newspapers on Dec. 7, asking the owner to retrieve the planes. “If you fail to collect the aircraft within 14 days of the date of this notice, we reserve the right to sell or otherwise dispose of the aircraft,” the ad read.
The owner of the three 747s could be subjected to fines by MAHB, presumably for storage. The general manager of MAHB, Zainol Mohd Isa, said the aircraft were “international,” not Malaysian, but did not provide further details. He said the owners were not responding, possibly because they don’t have the money to continue operations. If they were sold, the cash would be used to offset expenses of keeping the aircraft at the airport, and paying any debt. MAHB said it is entitled to sell the 747s under the country’s civil aviation regulations if they are not claimed.
Two of three aircraft have been linked to Malaysia Airlines after a search revealed that MASkargo, the cargo arm of Malaysia Airlines, had leased them from Air Atlanta Icelandic. However, Air Atlanta said they had sold the aircraft in 2008. Malaysia Airlines also denied any ownership. It would appear the aircraft have changed ownership several times since then.
This isn’t the first time a plane has been abandoned at KLIA, the airport said. In the past 10 years, a few other aircraft have been left behind, mostly smaller aircraft. One that was abandoned in the 1990s was purchased and turned into a restaurant in Kuala Lumpur.