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Djibouti relaunched its national airline with backing from Iron Maiden's Bruce Dickinson
The Horn of Africa nation of Djibouti has relaunched its national airline -- a company managed by Iron Maiden lead singer Bruce Dickinson, officials said Tuesday.
Air Djibouti, which went bankrupt in 2002, recommenced flights on Monday with a cargo plane carrying six tonnes from Djibouti to Somalia, to Hargeisa, the capital of self-declared Somaliland.
"This is the link in the chain that was missing from Djibouti," said Abubaker Omar Hadi, chairman of Djibouti Ports and Free Zones Authority, who said he hoped the airline will help ferry cargo onwards from Djibouti's key sea port. "We need a national company to ensure our ambitions."
The airline is backed by British company Cardiff Aviation, whose chairman is Dickinson, a Boeing 757 and 737 pilot and instructor, and who is also the lead vocalist of the heavy metal band Iron Maiden.
He used to pilot the British band's plane during their world tours.
Dickinson's company -- based in Cardiff in Wales -- signed a deal in May to provide airline support to the carrier, including management, maintenance and staff training.
In May, Dickinson said that "Djibouti is uniquely placed to provide a hub for investment from Europe, the Middle East and Asia into Africa," and that his company would "bring a wealth of industry expertise and capability to one of the most exciting aviation markets in the world."
Djibouti -- which hosts several foreign military bases, including those of the United States, France and Japan -- aims to become a regional hub for air cargo transport, to forward sea cargo arriving in its port.
Cardiff Aviation said Air Djibouti had asked for its support in developing its key markets, which it said were "based on the needs of landlocked neighbouring countries, governmental aid programmes around Africa, the support of military installations currently based in Djibouti, and the need to deliver passengers to major international business hubs."
The strategic port is in a key position on one of the world's busiest shipping lanes, the gateway to the Suez canal, and offers an African base across from the Arabian Peninsula at the crossroads for cargo traffic between Asia and Europe.
"Between Shanghai and Abuja (Nigeria), the transport of a container can take up to 75 days," Hadi added. "With the sea-air transport Djibouti, this is reduced to 20 days. This is much cheaper than any air and much faster than any sea route."
The tiny country of around 850,000 people has bold ambitions to become the commercial hub of eastern Africa, building on its role as the main port for landlocked Ethiopia, Africa's second most populous country.
Other flights are scheduled next week to the Somali capital Mogadishu, to South Sudan's capital Juba and the Kenyan capital Nairobi. Currently with only one aircraft, the company is due to take delivery of five aircraft later this year, including a Boeing 767, 737 and 757. It is planned to begin passenger flights in November with connections to Paris, London, Dubai and Mumbai.
Daallo Airlines to be re-branded as national flag carrier of Djibouti
Dubai World company Istithmar World Aviation (IWA) Holdings has announced that it is joining with founders of Daallo Airlines and the Government of Djibouti to create a new holding company which will acquire all the shares of Daallo Airlines.
The deal will see the New Daallo re-branded and named as the exclusive National Flag Carrier of Djibouti, enjoying all routes and traffic rights held by Djibouti.
IWA Holdings is an Istithmar World company formed by the consolidation and enlargement of Dubai World's aviation investments
Daallo currently has a fleet of 10 aircraft including Boeing 757 and Boeing 737 aircraft, and has interline agreements with leading world carriers like Emirates, Qatar Airways, Saudia, Delta Airlines, Srilankan, Alitalia and Ethiopian Airlines.
The airline has 16 years of experience operating scheduled passenger flights, cargo and charter flights to major destinations in Africa, Middle East, Asia and Europe. It has been flying to the UAE since 1992, to Paris since 2001 and London since 2002.
Mr. Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Chairman Dubai World said:
"Africa's aviation industry can play a major role in the socio-economic development of the countries. In an environment where most air routes are dominated by foreign carriers, we see great potential in a home-grown airline like Daallo, which can provide safe and reliable air transport services, and facilitate the growth of trade and tourism."
"Dubai World has been a major partner in the development of Djibouti's infrastructure, where we already operate and manage a number of leisure and business projects. Daallo's strong base in the Horn of Africa gives us the required leverage to make this region a top-notch travel and business destination."
"We are very pleased to enter into this venture with the founders of Daallo Airlines and the Government of Djibouti. With our combined efforts and the resources being allocated, Djibouti will emerge as a valued destination for tourism and Daallo will spread its wings to become the leading air carrier in the Horn of Africa."
Tom Ronell, CEO Istithmar World Aviation Holdings said: "The acquisition of Daallo Airlines, is a reinforcement of Dubai World's commitment to Djibouti, and reflects the importance of the country and the region in our business strategy. With the combined efforts of all parties, the airline is well positioned to serve the business and tourism needs of the Horn of Africa and beyond, providing safe, reliable and affordable air transport services on Africa's lucrative intercontinental routes."
Mohammed Ibrahim Yassin, Founder and CEO of Daallo Airlines said: "We are gratified at the confidence placed in Daallo Airlines by our Government and by Istithmar World. With this backing and the expertise being added, we will take the New Company to a higher level, flying to more destinations and supporting the economic development of Djibouti and our neighbouring countries in the Horn of Africa, where we are the Number One airline already."
"Teaming up with Dubai World will enable us to pursue our ambition to provide a world-class air transportation service to the continent of Africa".
Source: Dubai World, Nov 12, 2007