A year ago, rock star turned airline pilot Bruce Dickinson entered the MRO stage with the takeover of an ex-Royal Air Force hangar at St Athan air base in South Wales. Operations began at Cardiff Aviation in January 2013 under the EASA Part 145 approval of UK-based MRO partner BCT Aviation. But C-checks, cabin refurbishments and fresh paint should just be part of the young business.
The Iron Maiden frontman and his co-founder Mario Fulgoni – former chief executive of UK charter carrier Astraeus, where Dickinson flew as a Boeing 757 captain – want to provide full support to start-up carriers in emerging markets, including aircraft leasing, operations, training and maintenance.
However, the two entrepreneurs are also eyeing other projects, such as becoming an Airbus A320 sharklet retrofitting centre. If the idea materialises, Dickinson says, Cardiff Aviation wants to take over another 45,000m² (485,000ft²) "super-hangar" on the eastern side of the airfield, which can accommodate up to six narrowbodies.