KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia -- A new Malaysian air cargo company said Friday it is the owner of three jumbo jets parked for more than a year at the country's main airport and that it was shocked by authorities' claim that the owner could not be traced.
Malaysia's airport operator on Monday took the unusual step of posting photos in two major newspapers of the three Boeing 747-200s. The notice warns owners that the airport has the right to sell or dispose of the planes unless they are collected within 14 days.
Swift Air Cargo said it legally bought the planes in June and that it has since been in communication with Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad (MAHB), which has demand more documentation on the purchase.
"All the many various supporting documents, clearly state that SWIFT is the owner of all three B747s," Swift Air Cargo CEO Captain Blue Petersen told CBS News.
"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," Petersen said.
Syed Amir Syakib Arslan, a lawyer for Swift, told the AP the company was "dumbfounded and perplexed by Malaysia Airport's move," adding that they "definitely have not forgotten the planes."
In a brief statement, Malaysia Airports said the claim of ownership could not be satisfactorily verified at this point and that it has asked the owner for more information. It said the newspaper notice was a normal legal process for debt recovery.
Syed Amir said Swift has given the airport operator the sale and purchase agreement, a legal declaration from the previous Hong Kong owner of the planes on the sale as well as other original supporting documents to show ownership of the plane.
He said Swift is only liable for parking charges since June and not responsible for previous dues but that it was willing to sit down and negotiate with the airport operator.
"We were waiting for yet another meeting to present more documentation and information as requested when instead Malaysia Airports announced to the world that the owner of the planes was missing," he said.
Such a move could jeopardize the reputation of Swift, which is waiting for a permit from the government to start operations, he added.