Cardiff Aviation, the UK maintenance start-up led by rock star cum airline pilot Bruce Dickinson, has revealed a £5 million ($7.8 million) investment programme to expand its capabilities.
A third of the funding comes from Finance Wales, a business investment subsidiary of the Welsh regional government, which in turn takes a 25% stake in Cardiff Aviation. The remainder comes from investors, including Dickinson and co-chief executive Mario Fulgoni.
EXPANDING: Leasing set to start in 2014
Discussions are under way with a FTSE 100 company to establish an aircraft paint facility at Cardiff Aviation's two-bay hangar at St Athan air base, says Fulgoni. But he and Iron Maiden lead singer Dickinson are also talking to a "major" aircraft leasing firm about a potential support deal. This would include crew training which requires a £1 million investment, says Fulgoni.
Some of the new cash injection will be used to gain a European Part 21 design organisation approval and to acquire additional tooling and equipment.
Dickinson and Fulgoni are applying for an air operator's certificate to start wet-lease operations with two regional aircraft. The plan was to launch this part of the business in mid-2013, but Fulgoni says the AOC application is taking longer than anticipated. The aim now is to start leasing operations in the summer of 2014.
Dickinson and Fulgoni established Cardiff Aviation in a former Royal Air Force hangar in May 2012. Operations began in partnership with UK maintenance provider BCT Aviation under the latter's Part 145 approval last January.
The two entrepreneurs know each other from defunct UK charter carrier Astraeus, where the Iron Maiden lead singer flew as a Boeing 757 captain while Fulgoni - a former Airbus A320 pilot himself - led the management as chief executive.
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