The Board of Directors of Abu Dhabi-based all-cargo charter and ACMI operator Maximus Air today announced its decision to ground all five of its A300-600 freighters with immediate effect. Maximus said the freighters would be placed in storage, but would be available for sale or dry lease.
The immediate grounding of the fleet means that all existing ACMI contracts are terminated. This will have an impact on DHL, which is believed to be Maximus’ last remaining ACMI customer. Maximus has operated A300-600Fs on an ACMI basis for Etihad Airways in the past, but Etihad chose to let the contracts expire without renewing as it focused on newer, larger aircraft for its freighter fleet.
Another factor in the decision is that, for whatever reason, Maximus chose not to certify its A300-600Fs for ACMI operation in Europe, effectively limiting it to clients in the Middle East. But potential customers in the Middle East have increasingly turned to A330-200s, 777s, and 747-400s to satisfy their freighter needs, while at the same time, there is competition from other ACMI operators in the region also offering A300-600Fs.
Too many A300-600s in a market with no demand left Maximus with little choice. and its decision to end A300-600F operation does not come as a big surprise. However, its charter business, based on one An-124 and two Il-76s (all registered through a Ukrainian subsidiary) is reportedly profitable, and will continue.