Bali’s most high-profile plane isn’t a slick Airbus at Ngurah Rai International Airport. Instead, it is an abandoned Boeing 737-200 parked in a field near Pandawa Beach. Just how and why the Boeing ended up here is a mystery many have tried to solve. Equally mysterious is why Bali has become a hotspot for abandoned planes.
Former Mandala Airlines Boeing now lives in a Bali quarry
The Boeing 737-200 was built in 1983 and entered service with Arkia-Israeli Airlines on lease from Dan-Air London. In March 1993, the 737-200 went to Mandala Airlines as PK-RII. Mandala Airlines was a Jakarta-based carrier that rebranded itself as Tigerair Mandala in 2011 before ceasing operations in 2014.
PK-RII was moved to its present site, a former quarry, in March 2013. The new owner, who is allegedly an Australian, reportedly proposed converting the old plane into a tourist attraction. While PK-RII attracts plenty of attention and visitors, it probably isn’t the type of tourist attraction the owner had in mind.
Also, perplexing visitors is just how the Boeing got into the quarry. It isn’t the sort of item you could just throw onto the back of a truck in bring in unnoticed. The chit-chat is the plane came into the quarry in parts and was reassembled there before the new owner ran out of cash and/or interest.
On-site security keeps people away from the plane, but there are plenty of vantage points just off-site. The online tip is to climb onto the shipping containers bordering the property.
A second abandoned Boeing 737 in Bali
PK-RII is not the only old Boeing in Bali that’s left the airport precinct. Another Boeing 737-300 is at Kedonganan, next door to a Dunkin’ Donuts – handy if you like to eat while sightseeing. The Boeing is a former Sriwijaya Air jet (registration PK-CKM) that was involved in a runway excursion accident in Yogyakarta and was written off as damaged beyond repair.
According to a Bali-based blog, “a guy from Jakarta named Arif” owns the plane.
“He bought it in Jakarta and had it dismantled, then loaded into four shipping containers and transported it here in 2015. It’s been sitting up on stilts ever since,” reported Bali Arrangements in 2020. “The long-term plan is to turn it into a restaurant and flight simulator eventually. Apparently, Arif has a 10-year lease on the land, but he needs an investment partner before he can start renovating the plane.”
In the meantime, Arif’s onsite muscle charges tourists to climb onboard (via a ladder) to take photos.
More abandoned jets in Bali
If two abandoned planes don’t satisfy you, there is the fuselage of an old British Caledonian Airways McDonnell Douglas DC-10 parked on the roof of Gate 88 Mall just to the north of Kuta. The mall never opened, but reportedly onsite security will give access if asked nicely and appropriately remunerated.
If you are really keen, there is also an abandoned Boeing 737-200 in a field in Jembrana in West Bali. While the plane is locked up, tourists can climb onto the wings and get up close. The field is under threat from residential development, so how long the plane lasts there is anyone’s guess.