An abandoned passenger plane has been sitting dormant at a Madrid airport for years, and now officials want the owner to come forward and claim their cadaver of an aircraft.
Except there’s one problem: Authorities haven’t been able to identify an owner, and might have a very hard time doing so.
CNN reports that the plane, a McDonnell Douglas MD-87, has become weathered after sitting idle at Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas Airport for years. The craft’s brawny presence on the tarmac has become such a nuisance that now the government is getting involved. Airport director Elena Mayoral recently submitted a notice to Spain’s official state bulletin noting the plane’s “obvious state of abandonment.”
Authorities looking to get rid of the craft must navigate a bureaucratic maze first, according to El País. If tax authorities can’t find an owner, then the state bulletin will publish three notices about the plane, searching for the party willing to claim the wayward aircraft and pay back taxes on its years-long parking space. If nobody is found after a waiting period of a year, the plane gets auctioned off. The current market rate for an MD-87 is close to $5 million, despite the line of aircraft being manufactured in the 1980s, Gizmodo notes.
Unsurprisingly, the plane used to belong to Saicus Air, a now-defunct airline that ceased operations in 2010. The Saicus logo is still emblazoned on the aircraft’s side, though the plane operated for a slew of different airlines throughout the course of its existence, including Iberia and Pronair, according to El País.
Despite its resident ghost plane, Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas Airport is by no means an aircraft graveyard, but you could make the case for characterizing Malaysia’s Kuala Lumpur International Airport that way. CNN notes the airport struggled to discard three unclaimed Boeing 747s for over year, after numerous requests to the owners to claim their aircraft went unheeded in 2015. All three planes were eventually sold for scrap metal.
Needless to say, finding a home for an abandoned plane isn’t easy. It seems Madrid’s unwelcome guest might be stationed there just a little while longer.