Claim: Mystery 747s Abandoned at Malaysia Airport

Mick West

Staff member

Three Boeing 747's are parked at KLIA Airport in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The airport wants whoever owns them to move them, otherwise it's going to sell them. Media headlines make it seem like these planes just appeared out of nowhere, and will likely fuel speculation about all kinds of conspiracy theories that involved mysterious unmarked airplanes.
So what actually are these planes? Recent photos of TF-ARN show it without significant markings. The plane is listed in several places as belonging to Air Atlanta Iceland, however CNN reports they sold the planes in 2008.

A 2008 Photo shows the plane in MASkargo livery. This is TF-ARN in August 2008. Presumably leased from Air Atlanta Iceland.


So why can't the airport find out who these planes actually belong to?

I'm guessing the lease expired, then the leasing company had financial difficulties, and the planes probably have negative worth due to maintenance requirements, so they just got shuffled around on the books, and belong to some holding company, or are under the control of a bankruptcy executor. Since they are not worth anything where they are, nobody wants to claim them.
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Closed Account
It's a sign of getting old that you can remember when 747's were the latest and greatest.....and now they can be worth only their scrap value!!:cool:


Senior Member.
According to Air Atlanta, the three planes were sold on in 2008 and are nothing to do with them, and they have apparently changed hands again since. (Am looking to see if I can find any details of the sale)


Senior Member.
I can understand the financial reasons for ditching the equipment, even if its not quite ethical, but what really bothers me is that there is no up to date registration database that the airport has access to that highlights the owners. How is that not a thing?! How can a busy international airport not know who is using their runways. I understand that leases move about quickly and planes constantly change hands, but c'mon.


Closed Account
Aircraft being used will have a current registration - they have to. But if they are not actually flying then there is no such requirement.

also there is a difference between the operator of an aircraft, and the beneficial (legal) owner.

The operator is any entity of person who is entitled to have possession of the aircraft for the purpose of operating it (duh) - but is often not the legal owner.

The registration marks are not compulsory unless the aircraft is being operated - similar to you do not need to register your car if it is nto actually being used on the roads.

Many aircraft have a small plaque affixed somewhere inside that identifies the legal owner - who is often an aircraft leasing company, or a financial organisation. Changes in ownership between such organisations are not always "visible" to airports and other aviation participants once the registration is cancelled.


Senior Member.
According to Air Atlanta, the three planes were sold on in 2008 and are nothing to do with them, and they have apparently changed hands again since. (Am looking to see if I can find any details of the sale)
TF-ARN is listed as sold (leased and stored 2010..sorry) to Malaysia Airlines. Atlanta Icelandic-history-b747.htm

The other two were here listed as stored by AAI in 2010 and 2011. weird. Atlanta Icelandic-stored-b747.htm

fixed text


New Member
German print/online mag "Der Spiegel" today comments on the planes as being sold to a banc in 2010 and later on to some unnamed chinese investor, no more details given tho

They further add this happened before on KLIA and that some smaller plane now serves as a restaurant in some Kuala Lampur suburb

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Senior Member.
Swift Air claims to own Malaysia 'abandoned' planes
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