Bruce Dickinson sets up aircraft servicing business in Wales
Aviation centre announced by Iron Maiden front man could create 800 jobs in south Wales
BRUCE DICKINSON, lead singer of heavy metal outfit Iron Maiden, says he hopes to create hundreds of jobs in south Wales by launching an aircraft maintenance business.
Dickinson, who gained his commercial pilot's licence in 1994, and is also a published novelist and expert fencer, has teamed up with two business partners to buy part of the RAF's St Asaph air base near Cardiff, The Guardian reports.
Previous aeronautical adventures for the 53-year-old entrepreneur include flying the band, crew and 12 tons of equipment around the world on Iron Maiden's 2008 comeback tour. Dickinson's plane was a Boeing 757 nicknamed Ed Force One, after the band's infamous mummy mascot. He has also flown Liverpool and Rangers football clubs to European ties in his role as senior pilot for Astraeus Airlines, which went bust last year.
The singer, who sold over 85 million records with Iron Maiden, has created a new company, Cardiff Aviation, to take on the work. Many airlines currently service aircraft like Boeing 737s and Airbus A320s as far away as Africa because of high costs in the UK. The Daily Mail reports that Dickinson's company has already attracted interest from several major airlines.
"The added value we can bring to the package is, while the team is expert in the provision of technical services, we also have expertise in aircraft sourcing and leasing," Dickinson says. "This is another key aspect to the deployment of a total aviation services package, hopefully including the development of new airline services for south Wales."
Welsh business minister Edwina Hart welcomed the news. "We have a strong dynamic aerospace sector in Wales," she said. "This investment will build upon the skilled workforce that already exists in the area, providing a range of career opportunities."
All three partners in the new company will contribute £1 million, with further funding of up to £30 million expected. Annual revenues of £20-£25 million are expected by about 2015.