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New Meaning for Iron Maiden



erhaps by now you will have seen the stories about Iron Maiden rock legend Bruce Dickinson opening an aircraft maintenance business in South Wales.

Dickinson, like many other well-traveled performers, has an

affinity for aviation. Angelina Jolie, John Travolta (his Boeing 707 bears the Qantas logo because he is a goodwill ambassador for the airline), Harrison Ford (a former chairman of the Experimental Aircraft Association’s Young Eagles program for five years), Cliff Robertson (began cleaning airplanes and engine parts at age 14) and others have pilot certificates and own aircraft. Morgan Freeman started his working life as an U. S. Air Force aircraft mechanic. Dickenson is a commercial airline pilot and an aviation

entrepreneur. He has set up Cardiff Aviation to provide technical support services, heavy aircraft maintenance for both narrow and

says. “But the added value we can bring to the package is that while the team is expert in the provision of technical services, we also have expertise in aircraft sourcing and leasing, another key aspect to the deployment of a total aviation services package, hopefully including the development of new airline services for South Wales—Cardiff Airport has tremendous potential to challenge the successful English regional airports.” A press release said, in addition to maintenance of airliners and

Former lead vocalist of the heavy metal band Iron Maiden, Bruce Dickinson is eagerly bringing his maintenance business, Cardiff Aviation, to South Wales.

wide body jets, up to Boeing 767 size and training. The business will be based at St Athan Enterprise Zone in the

Vale of Glamorgan, Wales. The company has 132,000 square feet of hangar space. A Boeing 747 simulator has been purchased and was due for delivery in June. Dickinson’s fellow investors are said to be established aviation professionals. “We’ll be based in civil aviation buildings, and we’re excited to be part of the Welsh Government’s Aerospace Enterprise Zone proposals. As an established base, it obviously has all the facilities necessary for the enterprise, including a runway 6,000 feet in length with a Cat 1 DME ILS, meaning it can cope with practically any size of commercial aircraft, including wide-bodied airliners,” Dickinson

other large aircraft for several major and independent airlines, Cardiff Aviation will have facilities to complete the full range of ancillary aircraft maintenance and training activities and “has the expertise and approvals to certify aircraft from many jurisdictions, including the USA.” “We’re coming into this enterprise with the knowledge that we’ll also be bringing business to South Wales. South Wales has long had an association with the aircraft industry and I am delighted that I am able to play a small part in the continuation of that tradition,” says Dickinson. A wildly optimistic Dickinson hopes to add 1000 jobs to the area quickly. “A cautious projection is that we’d expect to create up to a thousand jobs within 18 months,” he says. “We’ve had fantastic support from the Welsh government – we’ve been impressed by how pro-active they’ve been; they’ve really wanted to make this happen, and we’ve experienced a level of enthusiasm and drive that has been a delight to behold,” he adds. Welsh Area Business Minister Edwina Hart welcomed the new enterprise and said the investment would provide a substantial jobs boost. “The Welsh Government has been working closely with Bruce Dickinson and Cardiff Aviation on this exciting project for some time and we are delighted it has come to fruition. This is exactly the type of investment needed, which will create hundreds of well-paid, skilled jobs in one of our key sectors,” Hart says. “We have a strong dynamic aerospace sector in Wales and this investment will build upon the skilled workforce that already exists in the area, providing a range of career opportunities. This is a flagship operation and provides a great start for the new Aerospace Enterprise Zone.” The aviation maintenance business is a fierce and competitive market and not for the weak of heart. During the last several years, the market has become even more challenging. We applaud the enthusiasm and energy this project is bringing to Wales and the wider aviation maintenance community. Here’s wishing Dickinson and team the best as they embark on this journey. AM

4 Aviation Maintenance | | June / July 2012

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