What a difference a day makes.
Read on for “The Mystery of Splunk n’ Dash.” Or perhaps “The Mystery of SWIFT Air Cargo.” You decide…
For the last three days, the aviation media (and most of the mainstream commercial news services) have been full of the story of three 747-200 freighters, “abandoned” at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KUL) in Malaysia. The airport operator, Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd, published a formal notice in the English language daily The Star giving the unknown owner of the three aircraft fourteen days to collect 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 notice read, adding that the money raised would be used to offset any expenses and debts due.
It didn’t take Cargo Facts more than a few minutes to identify the freighters: 22363, 22382, and 22669, all freighter-converted 747-200s, and all shown as currently registered to Iceland-based ACMI lessor Air Atlanta Icelandic (AAI). Nor did it take much longer to find that AAI’s most recent customer for two of them (22363 and 22382) was MASkargo, the cargo arm of Malaysia Airlines. But the records showed that the two freighters had exited the MASkargo fleet years ago, with no trace of any further leases or any change of ownership.
Of course we were not the only ones to search the records, and it wasn’t long before Singapore daily The Straits Times, published the news that AAI denied any knowledge of the current status of the freighters. The paper quoted AAI’s Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Baldvin M. Hermannsson, as saying in an email that the three aircraft had been operated by Air Atlanta, but were returned to their owner in 2010. Further, he said: “Air Atlanta Icelandic does not have any knowledge of who the current owner of these aircraft is today, and has nothing to do with these aircraft today” He added that the three aircraft had been de-registered from the Registry of the Icelandic Civil Aviation Authority, but that it appeared no one had painted over the old registration marks.
And there it stood as the sun went down last night. A minor mystery, and perhaps one that would never be solved. Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd would no doubt get a court order allowing it to impound the aircraft and sell them for scrap, and the world would soon forget all about it.
But when the sun came up this morning, everything had changed. Not only was the mystery solved, but it had been replaced by an even more mysterious mystery.
On the home page of a website at www.swiftaircargo.com, is this introduction to a new all-cargo carrier: “SWIFT Air Cargo. Currently called Splunk n’ Dash Sdn Bhd until the change of name to SWIFT Air Cargo is approved by the Malaysian DCA (Department of Civil Aviation) and SSM, the Companies Commission of Malaysia. SWIFT, a new cargo airline, based in beautiful Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, a warm, wonderful country located in the exotic Far East.”
But at the very top of the page, above even the introduction to the company, was “SWIFT’s press release as The ‘Missing Owner’ of the (3) B747’s Parked at Kuala Lumpur International Airport, Malaysia.”
The full text of that press release appears at the end of this post, or you can click here to read it on the company’s website, but the gist of it is that Splunk n’ Dash, doing business as SWIFT Air Cargo, claims it not only bought the three freighters “from the previous owner” in June of this year, but also has been in regular communication with Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd ever since.
But just who or what is SWIFT Air Cargo? On the website, we learn that “Malaysia is a land of rare opportunity and SWIFT sees a niche it can develop as a logistics airline, but with a unique twist implying SWIFT is without a competitor in the market. SWIFT has been under development for a period of 10 years and will be flying shortly. SWIFT will initially open flights with (2) B747F’s, which will fly from the Far East to Africa and South America. By starting out small and growing organically, SWIFT will be able to open new markets and develop a strong niche for its services.”
As to who, the website introduces us to the CEO, Captain Blue, a pilot who has flown for twenty-two airlines, mostly in the “Far East,” over the last twenty-seven years. These carriers include IndiGo and MAS, and, previously, “Blue was CEO of SukhoThai Airways (previously FlyHy, a Bangkok based Cargo airline with flights throughout the Far East and it was with SukhoThai that Blue began to piece together the concept of SWIFT, a low cost logistics airline.”
The website also introduces SWIFT’s VP Marketing & Sales, Sun Fai Li, “or as he prefers to be called, Sli, was Senior Vice President of Asian Rim Company Ltd responsible for cargo charters, consolidators, wholesalers, GSA for the named airlines.” Prior to this, again according to the website, Mr. Sun’s career included time with TradeWinds Airlines (now SkyLease Cargo), Air Macau, Atlas Air, and before that, Air Hong Kong and British Airways.
And now, as promised above, here is the text of the SWIFT press release concerning the three freighters parked at KUL.
December 10, 2015
The owner of the (3) B747’s parked at KLIA is SWIFT Air Cargo and SWIFT has not abandoned the aircraft!
SWIFT’s management was stunned to read the following excerpts:
The Star newspaper article quoting MAHB (Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad)“‘exhaustive steps’ were taken to find a contact person but its efforts had not been successful.”
The Malay Mail Online summed up the situation perfectly in their headline “Will the owner who forgot his three Boeings please collect them from KILA before they are sold!”
Except SWIFT Air Cargo, is the owner and SWIFT very much has not forgotten its (3) B747’s parked at KLIA!
SWIFT is a Kuala Lumpur based, Malaysian company and the owner of the (3) B747’s. 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.
All the many various supporting documents, clearly state that SWIFT is the owner of all (3) B747‘s!
SWIFT is understandably very concerned when MAHB (Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad) declares to the world that “exhaustive steps” were taken to find a contact person, yet SWIFT has been meeting with MAHB on a consistent basis.
The first meeting with MAHB was on June 17, 2015 with the Senior General Manager – Operations Services and with his supporting staff also present. Multiple meetings followed with each request for documentation supplied as requested. The last meeting occurred on October 12, 2015 with both the Chief Operating Officer and the General Manager present. Since then, SWIFT and MAHB have been communicating with letters and we were waiting for yet another meeting to present more documentation and information as requested by MAHB, when instead MAHB announced to the world that the owner of the (3) B747’s was missing.
Based on this evidence, SWIFT is unable to fathom the reason for MAHB’s declaration that it has taken “exhaustive steps” without being able to find a “contact person” when all along, SWIFT was fulfilling its obligations.