BRUCE DICKINSON Explains How He Was Able To Turn His Aviation Business Around

April 21, 2024

IRON MAIDEN singer Bruce Dickinson spoke to Mirror about how he was able to save his long-running Caerdav business (formerly Cardiff Aviation Ltd.),which provides maintenance, repair and and training services for various airlines.

"I won't go into the gory details, but it was a money pit for a long time," he said. "One of the reasons for that is that I was so busy working, trying to put money into it, that I wasn't there long enough to make sure that people weren't ripping me off. Anyway, I finally got much more focused on it, because it was costing a small fortune, and we turned it around. We're making £400,000 net profit every month now, and we're busy until the end of 2026."

Founded in 2012, Caerdav provides aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO),consultancy and pilot training services to large carriers, aircraft leasing companies and private clients.

Back in July 2022, the business, which is based at the St Athan – Cardiff Airport Aerospace Enterprise Zone in South Wales, United Kingdom, received a £4 million investment from independent asset manager BOOST&Co, which has supported Caerdav's growth ambitions as the aviation sector continues its post-COVID recovery.

BOOST&Co chose to work with Caerdav due to its strong and highly experienced executive management team who, since their appointment in early 2019, have been responsible for an acceleration in the company's growth and development. The lender also cited Caerdav's excellent industry reputation as a long-established business in the aviation sector, as well as its continued commitment and support for local communities across South Wales.

Caerdav specializes in the Boeing 737, 757, 767 and Airbus A320 families of planes and holds all necessary approvals, including EASA, FAA, UK CAA and TCCA licenses, enabling the business to provide services to all relevant major target economies. The business is based in a 134,000-square-foot hangar complex in Wales, including a 6,000 ft runway, which is one of the highest specification maintenance facilities of its kind in civilian use.

Operating from a former RAF maintenance base equipped with 6,000ft ILS runway and parking for up to 20 narrow-bodied airliners, Caerdav specializes in MRO work for Airbus 320s and Boeing 737s, and provides complete training for airline pilots and cabin crew.

This past January, the 65-year-old Bruce, who flew IRON MAIDEN around the world in their customized jumbo jet dubbed Ed Force One, confirmed that the Federal Aviation Administration retirement age for pilots is one of the reasons he is no longer in the pilot's seat when he and his bandmates are on the road.

Dickinson gained a commercial pilot's license after learning to fly in the 1990s. The singer, who spent a few years flying planes for Astraeus Airlines, told CNN 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.'"

Dickinson told Wales Online that he still gets a thrill out of flying, but that it's a totally different sensation to playing live.

"The satisfaction flying airplanes is getting the job done, but the satisfaction with playing live is external, looking out at all the people looking at you," he said. "With an airliner, it's all internal. If you've got passengers, nobody goes, 'Wow! Wasn't that great?' They're thinking about the rest of their day. Your job as an airline pilot is to deliver them safely and be invisible. That's quite nice for me because it's completely the opposite to what I do when I sing."

Image courtesy of Caerdav

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