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MRO firm to open at former RAF repair base

Captain Bruce Dickinson, singer of heavy metal band Iron Maiden, has opened a heavy maintenance company for commercial aircraft on the grounds of the former Royal Air Force repair base in St Athan, near Cardiff this week.

He expects to create “up to 1,000 new jobs in South Wales” over the next 18 month with the firm called Cardiff Aviation. This is a “cautious projection … based on the level of interest and commitment from aircraft manufacturers and operators”, Dickinson says.

Cardiff Aviation wants to provide heavy maintenance for Airbus and Boeing types within the 132,000ft² (12,000m²) hangar, which can accommodate aircraft up to the size of the Boeing 767.

The first customers will “likely be 737 operators”, according to the company, and will be revealed later this month. But Dickinson adds that “several more major and independent airlines” have shown interest in employing the business.” It was reported in November last year that British Airways was considering expanding its maintenance operation in Wales with a new base at St Athan.

Heavy maintenance is just part of the range of “total aviation service packages” the company will offer, including flight and technical training, certification and aircraft sourcing and leasing.

Business Minister Edwina Hart said: “We have been working closely with Bruce Dickinson and Cardiff Aviation on this exciting project for some time and delighted it has come to fruition.

Dickinson added that this will “hopefully include the development of new airline services for South Wales, as Cardiff Airport has tremendous potential to challenge the successful English regional airports.”