Travel Trade Gazette recently conducted an interview with IRON MAIDEN vocalist Bruce Dickinson, who is a licensed commercial pilot. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
On the beginning of his career in aviation:
Dickinson: “I’d just completed my line training and was all signed off to fly, and was in New York with the band. It was a really sunny day, and I was sitting on the roof of the hotel by the pool. I had a Boeing 757 manual on my lap, reading up, when a little old lady walked up to the pool attendant and asked if it was true that a plane had flown into the twin towers. I thought it must have been a small private plane, and went back to my reading. Then more people arrived, and someone said it was some sort of airliner, and I thought, ‘Oh boy…'”
On flying his own band for its world tours, as well as countless fans as part of special gig “packages”:
Dickinson: “I’m my own tour operator. I charter a flight and then advertise the packages for around £500, which includes hotels, me flying them there, an onboard goody-bag, and a backstage tour.”
On his frustration over the government not addressing the issue of airport capacity in the U.K.
Dickinson: “Aviation is a massive driver of so much in the U.K., especially in terms of employment. We need to develop our regional capacity — it’s crazy that people have to drive from Cardiff to Heathrow to get a flight to the U.S. They should be able to fly direct.”
On being a fan of the Boris Island airport concept (proposed major new airport in the Thames Estuary):
Dickinson: “I couldn’t really see it at first, but looking at the design, it’s really quite innovative. It would provide a new Thames barrier — and the airport would be self-sustaining — able to generate its own power by tidal flow. For the money the government is spending on HS2 to get to Birmingham 10 minutes quicker, they could have a massive project in the estuary. With Crossrail there could even be a link between Heathrow and Boris Island, so people could transfer in no time.”
On high-street travel agents:
Dickinson: “There is a place for travel agents on the high street, but they need to reinvent themselves and stop looking like DHSS offices. They should look at the way estate agents have reinvented themselves — Foxtons, for example, is like a cafe, where you can go and look at houses on a slideshow. It would be great to see that in travel agencies. Travel agents can be wonderful, but they need to be 24/7 so you can pick up a phone and get a human being, no matter where you are in the world.”
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