IRON MAIDEN frontman and licensed pilot Bruce Dickinson has released the following statement to the passengers of his "airline," Bruce Air, which takes fans and friends on special trips to see the band perform, with Bruce himself at the plane's controls:
"Dear [Flight No.] 666 passenger,
"I am gutted to have to tell you that Astraeus Airlines have been forced to remove the IRON MAIDEN decals (artwork transfers) from the Boeing 757 and that its now highly unlikely that operational proceedures will allow enough time to have the Ed Force One livery reinstated for my Bruce Air trips.
"When we originally commissioned the 757 from Astraeus it was due to be reverted back to their normal airline branding at the end of the first leg of our tour. However, Astraeus were getting such great feedback from passengers and airports around our tour that they asked if they could retain the IRON MAIDEN decals when they took the plane back for their own normal charter flights. We thought this was great and it has since been flying European and Middle East routes with spectacular reaction.
"Unfortunately for us, 'Ed Force One' was the only plane available from the Astraeus fleet to fly a new and regular route into and out of an African country on a recent new route. The striking IRON MAIDEN imagery had a violent reaction from the locals as they regarded the artwork, particularly that of Eddie, as very bad ju ju. Not only would local passengers refuse to board the plane because of the artwork, but other passengers were refusing to board planes of other airlines parked nearby in case they were tainted by the evil spirits! This resulted in some furore among the attending passengers and even more among the airlines involved! As the liveried 757 is owned and maintained by Astraeus, they had no alternative but to strip off all the IRON MAIDEN artwork and return the plane to its usual livery to be able to continue on the new route.
"As most seats on these trips were taken up before I announced that we would be using Ed Force One (Warsaw/Prague was already sold out), I really hope this isn't too much of a disappointment to you, and I much look forward to welcoming you aboard Bruce Air Flight AEU 666.
"The team at ICT will keep you advised of any developments."