Madrid airport puzzled by ghost plane


It used to belong to Iberia Airlines, then it was sold to Pronair, and then to Saicus and now... well, no one  is quite sure who owns the apparently-abandoned MD-87 sitting at the edge of Madrid's airport.

And Madrid's airport officials would like to know, because they'd like the space back.

After serving Iberia from 1990 to 2008, it was sold to a charter carrier, Pronair, which flew it on a route to China for a year or so before going out of business and passing it on to Saicus, a cargo airline that thought the plane would be their way into passenger service. A year later, without flying the plain, Saicus, too, went out of business. And it's been sitting there since.

The plane's engines are sealed, and officials believe it could be worth over €2 million if sold. The airport has issued, under aviation law, an order for the owners to come forward. If, after three monthly requests, no one claims the plane, the airport will be able to put it up for auction. The proceeds would go to the State... minus a very hefty charge for parking.

The plane is, in a way, an orphan of different kind. Its design began before Douglas Aircraft became part of McDonnell Douglas; it's a shortened version of  the MD-80 which started life as an updated DC9, and the plane developed from the MD-87 went to market as the Boeing 717 after Boeing bought out McDonnell Douglas.

Photo: Iberia MD-87 in flight

The best part of every trip is realizing that it has upset your expectations

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