DALLAS — One of the most distinctive sights in Palma de Mallorca Airport (PMI) and a treat for aviation enthusiasts is a Spantax Convair 990 (EC-BZO · MSN 30).
The aircraft, originally delivered to American Airlines (AA) in 1962, is one of the 14 Coronados that were operated by Spantax—and the last one to survive. Today, it is parked in the military area of PMI, where Spantax had its maintenance base.
Since 2009, the group Amics de Son Sant Joan has devoted itself to preserving this aircraft, one of only two complete Coronados in Europe. (The other one is part of a permanent collection in the Museum of Transport in Lucern, Switzerland, wearing the colors of Swissair in the 1960s.)
A Cultural Asset
In 2011, the Spantax Coronado gained the status of Cultural Asset under the Protection of the Balearic Islands. Since then, some minor restoration works, made possible by contributions from enthusiasts and by renting out the airplane as a movie set, have kept alive the hopes of restoring the Coronado and of bringing it to a permanent place for display.
Unfortunately, the lack of funds and bureaucratic measures have hampered the restoration. In 2017, the aircraft’s friends cleaned the passenger cabin and made some minor repairs. In 2019, they sanded, primed, and painted parts of the fuselage. A lot more needs to be done.
If you want to learn more about the latest developments related to this aviation masterpiece, and about what Amics de Son Sant Joan is doing to rescue this Coronado, feel free to visit the association’s site on Facebook.
Featured image courtesy: Dirk Grothe