IRON MAIDEN frontman and pilot Bruce Dickinson has vowed to resurrect a UK airline which has gone into administration.
Bruce Dickinson, IRON MAIDEN singer and airline pilot, will be doing more rather than less in the aviation industry following the closure of Astraeus Airlines with whom he was a Boeing 757 captain.
Gatwick-based Astraeus went into administration on Monday, November 21 — and by coincidence Dickinson was captain on the very last flight, operated on behalf of BMI, from Jeddah to Manchester.
Bruce Dickinson said: “I’m amused that the less well informed seem to be portraying me as having to resort to busking on the streets following the closure of Astraeus. The more astute members of my circle are aware there’s rather more going on in my world.
“Firstly, I’m already working on a plan to try to save Astraeus, or at least create a new business with new jobs for my friends and former colleagues at Astraeus. This is a serious plan involving people who are very good at their jobs.
“Frankly, now Astraeus has been relieved of the business model imposed upon it by Icelandic owners, who, to be honest, perhaps did not fully appreciate the way the key commercial aviation markets operated, I see the potential for a viable operation should acquisition of the company prove achievable. There is no reason why the original business model, which established Astraeus as possibly the best and most successful organisation in its sector, cannot be resurrected to the benefit of former employees and airline partners and clients alike.
“Secondly, I am also involved in a project which could mean the creation of as many as 1,500 jobs in aerospace in South Wales. That could be a very good news story.
“Thirdly, I’m a long way into the development of a flight training company — Real World Aviation — which will be perfectly placed to help address the aviation industry’s perennial challenge: producing new and qualified pilots. For some reason, even in difficult economic times, there is still a shortage of qualified commercial pilots
“I’m extremely upbeat about these opportunities, particularly the potential for a revival, in some form, of Astraeus. The removal of Icelandic ownership from the mix has removed a huge burden and barrier to the redevelopment potential. The enthusiasm is also fuelled by the deluge of messages I received from the second I switched on my phone after landing the last Astraeus flight on Monday, and, of course, the interest of a number of prospective investors.
“I will be back at the controls of a commercial airliner before I am very much older — but I may also be at the controls of the company that operates that airliner, and others like it.”
Dickinson flew IRON MAIDEN, its 60-member crew and 12 tons of equipment around the world on the band’s own customized Boeing 757, Ed Force One.
Ed Force One is named after MAIDEN‘s infamous mummy mascot “Eddie.”
Dickinson told CNN.com in a 2007 interview, “Aviation’s been kicking around my family for as long as I can remember; my uncle was in the RAF. But I always thought I was too stupid. I was useless at maths and majored in history at university, so I thought history majors don’t become pilots, let alone rock stars. And then our drummer learned to fly so I said if a drummer can learn to fly then anyone can.”
He added, “I never dreamed I would end up flying an airliner. I ended up flying IRON MAIDEN around on tour in a little eight-seat, pressurized, twin-engine plane. Basically we were flying round all the world’s major airports, flew across the Atlantic and back, which was quite an adventure. At the end I thought I really want to fly something bigger, but I can’t afford it — I can’t buy my own 707. If I’m going to do that I have to get a job.”
On how the thrill of piloting a 757 compares to taking to the stage with MAIDEN:
“It’s a different kind of buzz. Obviously you aren’t leaping around the flight deck yelling and screaming, but you have to manage situations… Flying at 35,000 feet is an internal thing, really. Whereas 35,000 people, that’s just showing off.”
On whether he will be hanging up his leopard-skin spandex forever:
“I could never contemplate giving up music. I have to say I’ve always been interested in planes, the only difference is I started to fly the darn things 15 years ago. I don’t see why I should give up either of them. People say ‘Why do you need a second job?’ I say ‘Why do you need to breathe?'”