Iron Maiden rocker-turned-pilot Bruce Dickinson may be forced to return to the music industry after the airline where he has worked as a senior pilot for years went into administration.
The 53-year-old singer was flying 250 holidaymakers from Jeddah International Airport in Saudi Arabia to Manchester when he learned the carrier, Astraeus Airlines, was to go into administration with immediate effect.
The UK carrier, based at Crawley in West Sussex, had provided aircraft anywhere in the world on long or short-term lease contracts for customers like BMI, Iceland Express and Trawel Fly.
Astraeus chief executive Hugh Parry told the Mirror: 'We battled hard to save Astraeus, but lower-than-expected levels of business during the summer of 2011, a lack of contracts for winter 2011-2012, and some extremely bad luck with a number of technical issues mean that we have no option but to cease all operations and put Astraeus Airlines in the hands of the administrators.
'Every effort has been made to ensure that any passengers affected already have or will be able to complete their journey.'
According to the Daily Mail, Dickinson, who got his pilot's licence in Florida in the early 90s, has flown all over the world with Astraeus, often bringing holidaymakers home from crisis-hit countries.
In 2006, he flew around 200 UK travellers home from Lebanon during the Israel-Hezbollah conflict, and in 2008 he got 180 holidaymakers home after they were left stranded in Egypt by the collapse of XL Airways.
In 2008, Iron Maiden also commissioned an Astraeus Boeing 757 as transport for their Somewhere Back in Time world tour.
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