More Let-Down Than Lift-Off for Bruce

Iron Maiden star loses pilot job due to recession

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Even rock stars can fall victim to the recession. Well-known Chiswick rocker Bruce Dickinson had an unpleasant in-flight experience while in the air to Manchester recently.

The 53-year old Iron Maiden frontman, who works as a pilot for Astraeus Airlines when he is not touring with the famous band, heard that the airline had collapsed, as he was busy flying 250 pilgrims from Mecca home to the UK. The bad news, that the airline was due to be placed into administration and had been ordered to cease operations immediately, was confirmed when the plane touched down in Manchester.

The UK charter airline, which leases planes to many major carriers to cover routes when needed, has blamed 'lower-than-expected levels of business' during the summer, a lack of contracts for winter 2011-2012, and 'some extremely bad luck with a number of technical issues', for the failure.

The musician, who first learnt to fly in Florida in the 1990s, has flown all over the world with the airline, often bringing holidaymakers home from crisis-hit countries.

In 2006, he flew about 200 UK citizens home from Lebanon for Astraeus during the Israel-Hezbollah conflict.

He also piloted an Iceland Express aeroplane in 2008 to fly home 180 holidaymakers who were stranded in Egypt by the collapse of XL Airways. He has also piloted the band on tour.

In a recent interview with, Bruce spoke about how he intended to scale down touring over the next few years. But he may change his mind and get back onto the lucrative concert circuit unless he finds another job as a pilot.

The Iron Maiden singer, who has lived in Chiswick for many years, and raised a family here, recently opened the Oxjam music festival. He is also a talented fencer. We were unable to contact Bruce for comment.

November 23, 2011