Within a few hours from the last Iron Maiden show of the current ‘The Book Of Souls World Tour’ at Wacken, Bruce Dickinson switches from frontman to chairman of Cardiff Aviation. Bruce will be meeting Welsh Government ministers next week.
He believes the Aviation Enterprise Zone at St Athan has massively unfulfilled potential and “one or two people need to get their finger out.”
On Tuesday, the day after he turns 58, he will meet with the Welsh Government to discuss making St Athan a success and then fly a plane down to Africa.
Cardiff Aviation, which Bruce established three years ago at the Twin Peaks hangar at St Athan, is an aircraft maintenance repair and overhaul as well as a pilot training business.
It is the development side of the business that is proving most fruitful. The company has helped set-up and supply the national airline of Djibouti.
“We have a 737 flying out from St Athan to start passenger services next week,” explains Bruce who will be flying the plane himself.
“We are providing more Welsh jobs to do with the airline right now than we are with the maintenance in St Athan. And that is a crazy situation.”
Something else that bugs the singer/chairman is that there is a instrument landing system – which enables pilots to land without visual contact of the runway – at St Athan but “no-one is allowed to use it for reasons which to me appear frankly just byzantine and people in the awkward squad. I don’t want to understand why I just what to get it fixed.”
The answer for making St Athan a success, Bruce Dickinson believes, is giving the airfield the same support as businesses further north in the Valleys.
“If you want St Athan to fly you need to turn it into the same status of whatever north of the M4 as without it it will stall,” he says.
During the winter Cardiff Aviation will have two 737s based at Cardiff Airport available for charters, which also brings in money for the company.
On a visit to Cardiff earlier this year he described the Welsh Government’s aviation enterprise zone as “a joke”.
Bruce believes that his aircraft maintenance repair and overhaul to pilot training business could become a £100m venture.
He said: “I genuinely think that with backing we can get to a £100m business, But we are looking for active partners [investors] and not just those just throwing in their money and waiting for a return.”
Before the EU Referendum vote, Bruce Dickinson has said that felt a closer union was extremely unsustainable.
“If there is a future outside of the EU then we could become the Hong Kong of Europe…building on our traditional role of being a trading nation. And if we do leave, the EU will panic and will have a do a deal,” he said back in February.
And now the UK voted to leave he is still unconcerned as he feels the Brexit vote has little impact on the aviation industry.
“In fact it [leaving Europe] makes us more competitive as the weaker pound means UK employees costs less.
“If our costs are in pounds, but our income is in dollars that’s better. So Brexit has made little difference.”
Source: Wales Online.