Confusion over ‘abandoned’ freighter ownership continues

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Newspaper advert for the 'abandoned' aircraft

Confusion over the ownership of three Boeing 747s parked at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) continues as Malaysia Airports says they are not registered to any company but Swift Air Cargo insist they own them.

KLIA’s operator, Malaysia Airports has released further statements about the aircraft, after intense global media coverage. It says their then owner, Air Atlanta Icelandic, parked the aircraft at the airport in mid-2010 before ownership was passed to Chinese based Shaanxi Sunshine Cargo. The operator says Shaanxi has ceased operations and the aircraft are not registered under any company.

Malaysia Airports Sepang general manager, Tuan Haji Zainol Mohd Isa says: “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 purpose.”

Swift disputes this, claiming it took ownership of all three aircraft on 8 June 2015, transferred through a Hong Kong entity. It says the aircraft were not owned by Air Atlanta Icelandic but by another Iceland based company, Flugvik, which leased them to Air Atlanta. It says two of the aircraft, registrations TF-ARH and TF-ARN were transferred to Shaanxi Sunshine Cargo, before being sold to a Hong Kong entity, then to Swift. Swift says the other aircraft, TF-ARM, was sold from Flugvik to a Turkish entity on 29 June 2010, then to the Hong Kong entity on 11 January 2011 before Swift took ownership on 8 June 2015 and was never part of Shaanxi.

In a statement on its website, Swift says: “Swift is thankful to MASSB (MAHB) that it is so thorough and at the same time, Swift would like to point out it has fully complied with the legal requirements to show it is the legal owner of the (3) Boeings with the Bill of Sales, two letters from the previous owner sent direct to MASSB (MAHB) at their request for verification.”

It continues: “And finally, in an attempt to clear any questions MASSB (MAHB) had, a Statutory Declaration from the previous owner, stamped by the Malaysian consulate in Hong Kong; all pointing conclusively that Swift is the legal owner of the (3) Boeings.”