East Africa-based Air Djibouti (re-established in February 2015), the Republic of Djibouti’s new national carrier, has confirmed it is on schedule to commence cargo operations later this year and add passenger services in 2016 as the government inked a management deal with Cardiff Aviation, a company based in Wales that was founded by Iron Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson.
“The government’s strategy for Djibouti and one of its Vision 2035 pillars is the development of the country as a regional logistics and commercial hub for trade in East Africa,” Chairman Aboubaker Omar Hadi said in a statement.
For the world’s biggest rock bands the small East African nation of Djibouti doesn’t usually appear on their itineraries. Yet Bruce Dickinson, the multimillionaire rock star that recently flew into town, the lead singer of heavy metal elder statesmen Iron Maiden. Instead of performing a concert, the 56-year-old was in Djibouti because of his other job as owner of an airline business.
The visit to Djibouti saw Mr. Dickinson sign an agreement with the country’s government to help re-launch the nation’s former flag carrier – Air Djibouti. The airline went into liquidation back in 2002 after years of mismanagement and overstaffing.
Air Djibouti is now set to take to the skies again later this year, with Cardiff Aviation sourcing the aircraft and helping to run the operation. Mr. Dickinson says he hopes that the re-launched carrier will help increase awareness of the African nation. It is also hoped that Air Djibouti will benefit from wider efforts by the government to position the country, which has a population of only 810,000, as a low tax, international trade centre to rival Dubai.
The return of Air Djibouti is part of the Red Sea state’s goal of becoming a major logistics hub as Djibouti is building four new ports, two airports, and a $3.5 billion-free trade zone set to be partially open by the middle of 2016. The overseas interest in Djibouti is thanks in no small part to its strategic location in the Horn of Africa, at the entrance to the Red Sea, one of the world’s busiest shipping lines.
The state-owned carrier hopes to handle 1,000 tons of freight by the end of December, 2015. It plans to start services to Sudan, Uganda, Nigeria, Ghana and countries in central Africa this year, specializing in high-value goods from electronic goods to laptop computers to temperature-sensitive pharmaceutical items and spare parts for the oil industry, Gebre-Ab said. He adds that Air Djibouti also plans to provider cheap direct flights to cities such as Paris and London, Dubai, Delhi and to destinations in Africa.
Paul Bruce Dickinson (born 7 August 1958) is an English musician, airline pilot, and broadcaster. He is best known as the lead vocalist of the heavy metal band Iron Maiden. Born in Worksop, Nottinghamshire, Dickinson began his career in music fronting small pub bands in the 1970s while attending school in Sheffield and university in London. In 1981 to join Iron Maiden, replacing Paul Di’Anno, and debuted on their 1982 album The Number of the Beast. During his first tenure in the band, they issued a series of US and UK platinum and gold albums in the 1980s, resulting in Dickinson gaining worldwide fame, and becoming one of the most acclaimed heavy metal vocalists of all time. He branched into entrepreneurship when he launched Cardiff Aviation Ltd on 1 May 2012, an aircraft maintenance business based at the Twin Peaks Hangar in St Athan, Vale of Glamorgan, Wales. According to The Wall Street Journal, in January 2013 Cardiff Aviation had created 40 jobs and hoped to have over a hundred personnel by the summer of 2013.