Cargo firm says KL airport rejected its claim on idle planes

One of the three unclaimed Boeing 747 aircraft sitting idle on the tarmac at Kuala Lumpur International Airport last Thursday.
One of the three unclaimed Boeing 747 aircraft sitting idle on the tarmac at Kuala Lumpur International Airport last Thursday.PHOTO: REUTERS

KUALA LUMPUR • Malaysia's airport authority has refused to acknowledge a Swiss cargo carrier's insistence that three unclaimed Boeing 747 aircraft sitting idle at Kuala Lumpur International Airport belong to the firm, maintaining that the rightful owner is still undetermined.

"As a responsible airport operator, Malaysia Airports undertakes to verify all claims of aircraft ownership with the relevant authorities. Thus far, we have not been able to do so to our satisfaction.

"As such, we urge the rightful owner to furnish us with the required information for verification purposes," Malaysia Airports Holdings (MAH) general manager Zainol Mohd Isa said in a statement.

The last known owner of the planes was China-based Shaanxi Sunshine Cargo, reported The Malay Mail Online. Shaanxi Sunshine Cargo has ceased operations and MAH said its last contact with the firm was in 2013.

The planes were parked in KLIA during the middle of 2010 by then owners Air Atlanta Icelandic, which later deregistered the planes and abandoned responsibility when the ownership was given to Shaanxi Sunshine Cargo, reported The Star.

Since then, however, the planes have not been registered under any firm and have not even been issued an Aircraft Operating Certificate by Malaysia.

In his statement, Mr Zainol made no reference to claims by Swift Air Cargo last Friday that the aircraft were its property.

Swift Air Cargo chief executive officer Blue Peterson said his firm had submitted its claim on the aircraft to MAH and that it had been in contact with the airport authority the entire time, but that did not stop the publication of a notice describing the planes as unclaimed.

Captain Peterson alleged that despite documents in support of ownership, MAH had refused to acknowledge his company's claim on the three 747s.

He also said his firm first met with MAH on June 17. The most recent meeting was held on Oct 12 and involved senior officials, including Mr Zainol.

MAH had last Monday published a notice calling for the owner of the three Boeing aircraft to claim them within 14 days, failing which the aircraft would be sold off, with the proceeds used to settle outstanding fees.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on December 13, 2015, with the headline 'Cargo firm says KL airport rejected its claim on idle planes'. Print Edition | Subscribe