The Coronado, abandoned at Son Sant Joan but about to be saved.

19-03-2009MDB

Spantax is a name from Spain's aviation past. In a Bulletin feature in April, it was in fact described as having provided "one of the more fabulous if disastrous stories of Spanish aviation". Just one example of this was when its co-founder, Rodolfo Bay Wright, was piloting German journalists to Hamburg in a Convair 990 to demonstrate the plane's safety. "On landing, he managed to stop the plane just before it would have gone into an office building. If this wasn't bad enough, there was the small matter of having landed at the wrong airport."

The airline filed for bankruptcy in 1988. The Convair 990A Coronado de Spantax EC-BZO, usually just referred to as the "Coronado", was a victim of this. It was left at Palma's Son Sant Joan Airport and has been pretty much abandoned ever since. It is in the military base area, and the Spanish Air Force would rather it wasn't.

The Amics de Son Sant Joan association has been seeking a solution and a future for the plane. In spring this year, Palma town hall gave its official support to an attempt to restore the plane and urged the Council of Majorca to come to the plane's rescue.

The Council has now got a plan that will involve the plane being moved to a hangar and being restored. It will eventually be open to visits by the public and form part of a Majorca aeronautic museum.

The Council's president, Miquel Ensenyat, and the director for heritage, Kika Coll, were shown the plane on Tuesday. A political commitment to saving the plane, the president noted, is "now a fact". The main problem with its rescue, it would seem, is being able to move it, though it is still in good enough condition that this should be achievable.

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