Not So Fast! Owner Of Mysterious 747s May Not Have Been Found After All

Earlier in the week I wrote about 3 Boeing 747-200 cargo planes that had seemingly been abandoned at Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

The airport had taken out an ad seeking the owner of the planes, indicating that if the owner wasn’t found the aircraft could be sold off to cover the costs incurred to the airport for having stored them there.

I identified that all 3 aircraft had been owned by Air Atlanta Icelandic, a charter and leasing company.

SWIFT Air Cargo claims to own the planes, says they aren’t abandoned, and that they’ve been in contact with the airport consistently. Although their press release detailing a long chain of signatures and endorsements by which they claim ownership sounded something like a Nigerian 419 e-mail scam.

SWIFT has in its possession, original supporting documents to show ownership of the (3) Boeings, which were signed by the previous owner, then signed by SWIFT as the new owner, followed by Syed Amir Ibrahim of Syed Ibrahim & Co., solicitors of KL, Malaysia who was a witness to the Bill of Sale; effective June 8, 2015. Liu Chan and Lam, solicitors in Hong Kong signed the Statutory Declaration for the previous owner while Cheung Ka Wai Francis signed as a Notary Public of Hong Kong followed by Othman Abdullah, who stamped the Statutory Declaration as the vice consul of the Consulate General of Malaysia in Hong Kong.

Malaysia Airports says not so fast.

The planes have been parked at Kuala Lumpur International Airport since 2010. Air Atlanta Icelandic “de-registered the planes and dissolved responsibility over them when the ownership was given to Shaanxi Sunshine Cargo.” But the planes haven’t been registered or “issued an Aircraft Operating Certificate (AOC) by Malaysia.”

    “Air Atlanta Cargo B742 TF-AMD” by Juergen Lehle. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

Malaysia Airports was in contact with Shaanxi Sunshine Cargo to try to get parking fees paid until September 2013. Shaanxi Sunshine Cargo is believed to have ceased operations.

SWIFT claims to have acquired the planes in June 2015. They claim two of the aircraft were transferred from Shaanxi Sunshine Cargo to a Hong Kong entity and from there to SWIFT. They claim the third never belonged to Shaanxi Sunshine Cargo, but were sold by Icelandic to a Turkish entity, from there to a Hong Kong entity, and on to SWIFT.

Apparently one of the Shannxi aircraft was a 747 without engines acquired for parts, and the other two planes are the only viable aircraft SWIFT claims to own.

There are two issues here, really:

  • Does SWIFT Air Cargo have verifiable paperwork to document their claim of ownership?

  • Is Kuala Lumpur International Airport going to get paid the back parking fees on these aircraft which have been sitting for more than 5 years?

Even if SWIFT has paperwork which isn’t disputed, if the parking fees aren’t paid the airport can presumably sell the planes to recover those costs. But the airport hasn’t even accepted the Nigerian e-mail chain of custody as-presented.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. “They claim two of the aircraft were transferred from Shaanxi Sunshine Cargo to a Hong Kong entity and from there two SWIFT.”

    From there two SWIFT? 😉

  2. Gary: You know as well as I do that nobody buys a plane and then fails to record ownership. That would be like buying a house and then not recording the deed.

    So there’s still a great deal that’s missing from this little saga. It’ll be interesting to see how it all turns out.

    I wonder if the parts are worth more than the accrued back parking fees?

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