Iron Maiden frontman to help relaunch Djibouti flag carrier
LONDON, England - The lead singer of heavy metal band Iron Maiden is helping to relaunch the former flag carrier of Djibouti.
LONDON, England – The lead singer of heavy metal band Iron Maiden is helping to relaunch the former flag carrier of Djibouti.
Bruce Dickinson, famously known for his role as lead singer of one of the world’s most famous heavy metal bands, is also chairman of Cardiff Aviation, a company that specialises in heavy aircraft maintenance, flight & technical training and aviation parts certification.
Dickinson recently visited the east African nation to sign a deal with the country’s government to help relaunch Air Djibouti, which ceased operations in 2002 after years of mismanagement and overstaffing.
A qualified commercial pilot on the Boeing 757 and 737, and training instructor on the Boeing 737, Dickinson has spent the past 16 years dividing his time between recording and touring with Iron Maiden and maintaining his second career in aviation.
He set up Cardiff Aviation in 2012, which now employs somewhere the region of 70 people, providing maintenance, training and operational support to a number of airlines.
Cardiff Aviation, according to media reports, will source aircraft and help operate Air Djibouti, which is due to re-launch later this year.
A former French colony, Djibouti is undergoing a renaissance of late, attracting billions of dollars in investment, as it looks to emulate Dubai’s success story.
A long-established trading hub and gateway to trillion dollar markets, Djibouti’s strategic access to east Africa and its positioning as a low tax, international trade centre are factors have encouraged global investment in the tiny state.
Dickinson, who visited Djibouti as part of a trade visit arranged by the British Embassy in Ethiopia, told BBC News that a strong national airline was crucial in order for the country to develop.
“The aviation sector is crucial [for Djibouti], it is like imagining Dubai without Emirates. So if they want Djibouti to become an international trade hub it needs a [thriving] national airline.
“A national airline has an ambassadorial role wherever it flies from,” he said.
Air Djibouti’s senior director of strategic planning, Dawit Gebre-ab, said the carrier wants to compete with the likes of Turkish Airlines, Emirates and Qatar Airways.
“Turkish Airlines is already flying here every day from Istanbul. That should be our market, they are our passengers,” Gebre-ab said.
Air Djibouti plans to offer cheap direct flights to Paris and London, destinations in Africa and will also start services to Dubai and Delhi.
“African aviation is still in its infancy, so there is big room for growth. We want to be as big as other African airlines, such as Ethiopian Airlines and Kenya Airways.
“Our aim is to let Air Djibouti represent the country in the best way possible,” he said.