Bruce Dickinson plots rescue plan for Astraeus

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Bruce Dickinson, front man with rock band Iron Maiden and airline pilot, is "working on a plan" to rescue collapsed Gatwick-based carrier Astraeus Airlines.

In a statement Dickinson revealed that he was looking for a way to resurrect the airline for which he was a captain on Boeing 757s and marketing director.

The singer said: "I'm already working on a plan to try to save Astraeus, or at least create a new business with new jobs for my friends and former colleagues at Astraeus. This is a serious plan involving people who are very good at their jobs."

He also criticised the carrier's Icelandic owner, Fengur, for failing to understand the intricacies of the market.

"Frankly, now Astraeus has been relieved of the business model imposed upon it by Icelandic owners, who, to be honest, perhaps did not fully appreciate the way the key commercial aviation markets operated, I see the potential for a viable operation should acquisition of the company prove achievable," he said. The potential change of ownership will remove "a huge burden and barrier to [its] redevelopment potential", he added.

"There is no reason why the original business model, which established Astraeus as possibly the best and most successful organisation in its sector, cannot be resurrected to the benefit of former employees and airline partners and clients alike."

Astraeus was placed into administration on 21 November with Nick Cropper, Alastair Beveridge and Anne O'Keefe, from restructuring specialists Zolfo Cooper, appointed to the business.

The carrier immediately ceased trading with all its aircraft grounded and the majority of staff made redundant.

Its most recent accounts, for the year to 31 December 2010, show a pre-tax loss of £2.9 million ($4.5 million) on turnover of £58.5 million with a net liability of £6.3 million.

In addition, its auditor, Deloitte, warned of a "material uncertainty" over its continued ability to trade. Although Astraeus's management predicted a return to profit by 2012, the accounts noted that "given the difficult and unpredictable economic climate and with the fact that no legally binding parental guarantee is in place to provide any future funding necessary" there was a real chance of it being unable to continue in business.