From The Guardian. Story by AFP.
Air Djibouti’s first passenger flight in 14 years landed in Djibouti on Thursday with Bruce Dickinson, Iron Maiden lead singer, as pilot.
The airline, one of Africa’s oldest, shut down all operations in 2002 but partially relaunched in August 2015 with a cargo service as the continent’s aviation industry became increasingly competitive.
Dickinson, front man of the heavy metal band – whose hits include “The Number of the Beast,” “Run for the Hills” and “Aces High,” – is also a pilot and owns the company which will manage the airline.
He flew the plane into Djibouti from Cardiff, Wales.
Aboubaker Omar Hadi, president of Djibouti’s port authority and free zones, said: “Djibouti confirms its position as a business and transport hub located on the (world’s) second most important maritime route.”
“Air Djibouti will allow the world to discover that Djibouti has incredible potential,” Omar Hadi said at a ceremony after the plane landed.
Air Djibouti will initially serve regional destinations including Addis Ababa in Ethiopia and Nairobi in Kenya, as well as nearby Middle Eastern destinations such as Dubai and Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
Route expansion to Asia and Europe will begin in 2017 with a target of 200,000 passengers a year.
Djibouti President Ismaïl Omar Guelleh attended the ceremony on the runway at Djibouti airport, while journalists and dignitaries disembarked the Boeing 737 piloted by Dickinson.
The airline is expected to add three new aircraft by the end of the year.
Air Djibouti state-owned airline was founded in 1963 is being managed by Cardiff Aviation, Dickinson’s company.
The East African country, population 870,000, is heavily involved in large-scale infrastructure projects with Chinese financing, including two new airports, six new ports and a train line connecting Djibouti with Addis Ababa.
Read more at The Guardian.