Abu Dhabi, 9 August 2011 – Maximus Air Cargo, the UAE’ largest dedicated all cargo aircraft
operator, has taken delivery of the first of three new Airbus A300-600RP2F aircraft freighters.
The 46 tonnes maximum payload capacity plane, which arrived in Abu Dhabi this week following
completion of a conversion programme in Europe, has a non-stop range of 2650 nautical miles at
maximum payload and offers greater fuel efficiency than the older versions of the A300. It is the
world’s youngest airbus passenger plane ever to be converted to a freighter and represents the first
phase of an aggressive AED350 million expansion programme by the Abu Dhabi-based company.
At a ceremony in Dresden, Germany, Maximus Air Cargo President and CEO, Fathi Hilal Buhazza,
formally received the aircraft from Dr Andreas Sperl, President and CEO of EADS EFW, the Centre of
Excellence for Airbus passenger-to-freighter conversions within EADS.
“The new aircraft will become a key part of our fleet. It is expected to make a major contribution
to building the strength and network of our business,” said Buhazza. “The additional capacity will
help us significantly expand our footprint in emerging markets such as Asia and Africa, as well as
enhancing our worldwide charter services.”
Meanwhile, Sperl said that by acquiring three more of the popular A300-600RP2F wide-body
freighters, Maximus Air Cargo has the best aircraft to meet its growing airfreight demands.
“Welcoming a current operator of our converted freighters again at EADS EFW for further P2F
conversions, is the best possible indication of the product’s capability and performance,” he said at
the ceremony, which was also attended by several of Maximus’ senior management team and the
EADS EFW conversion team.
Dr. Sperl added that EFW has gained supreme experience after more than 170 wide body
conversions within the past 15 years. This was a remarkably well maintained aircraft on arrival and,
as a consequence, the four month maintenance and conversion ran as scheduled.
The conversion entailed the removal of all structural and system components that are no longer
needed such as seats and floor structures. Even the heart of the aircraft – the sensitive avionics – is
removed leaving only a bare shell.
Then the conversion begins with, consisting of among others, a special cargo door and the plugging
of all windows. Extra stability is required and that comes in the form of two strong frame shells, one
above the door, the other one below, while in the aircraft fuselage, the old frames are replaced with
stronger segments and new, stronger cross beams.
Inside, the cabin floor designed for passengers is replaced by a new floor structure with higher
strength. A cargo loading system, comprising ball mats and roller tracks for loading of containers
is then installed. The cockpit is modified and refurbished, with a courier area in the rear. Then the
upper frame shell is opened because it has to be strengthened for the future cargo door. This is
precision work undertaken by hand to within a millimetre.
Necessary adjustments and completion of the aircraft systems are then implemented and system
tests are performed. And finally, after Maximus carried out an inspection and an acceptance
schedule was completed , the aircraft is handed over.
“We hope the new addition to the Maximus fleet will contribute to the economic success of the
company and look forward to converting its next two aircraft in the coming months,” he concluded.
The A300-600RP2Fs in general are well known for the best in market ratio between excellent cargo
capabilities (such as perfect payload- volume ratio plus all benefits of a real wide body cross section)
and comparably low ramp price. For the 10 years that the A300-600RP2FR conversion has been on
the market. it has become the aircraft of choice in this freighter segment.
Dr. Sperl added: “In this particular case, I expect that this youngest Airbus passenger plane ever to
be converted into a freighter will be a highly reliable workhorse.”
Buhazza meanwhile stated that the entry into service of the new aircraft comes at a time when there
are positive signs that freight traffic is gaining significant momentum in the UAE.
“This aircraft gives us the best product for maximising returns,” he added. “In today’s competitive
market environment, customers look to suppliers for reliability and cost effectiveness, and this
airplane’s proven economics and efficiencies will provide us with a significant advantage in the air
cargo market, through reduced operating costs, which in turn will allow savings to be passed on to
“Moreover, the high utility and high efficiency of this aircraft will help open the next exciting chapter
of our development by further facilitating the dual business model of cargo charter and ACMI lease
solutions, and will strengthen our organizational readiness for the future.”
The aircraft joins two other Airbus A300-600RP2F which were also converted at EADS EFW back in
The second of the three Airbus A300-600RP2F acquired my Maximus in January (A6-SUL) has
already entered the EADS EFW facility and is scheduled for completion in September 2011, while the
third (A6-NIN) has arrived in Dresden waiting to enter the production line and is scheduled to enter
service by the end of this year.