B2B. Flight International magazine will celebrate its 110th anniversary this year – with a new publisher. It is believed that the UK-based weekly and its sister Airline Business are in the process of being sold by Reed Business Information (RBI) for a price of £6-8m. They are estimated to have revenues of £8-10m and operating profit of £1-2m. The so-called Flight Group is being separated from RBI’s Cirium aviation analytics and consulting business which is being retained.
It is not believed that the successful bidder for the group is one of Flight International’s main competitors, Jane’s Information Group (owned by IHS Markit) and Aviation Week (Informa). The venerable magazine is one of RBI’s last remaining links with its pioneering predecessors as publishers of specialist magazines, especially with transport brands like Commercial Motor, Autocar, Motorship, and Railway Gazette. Flight International itself was founded by Stanley Spooner who had already given the world “The Automotor Journal & Horseless Vehicle” late in the nineteenth century. His diversification into coverage of the first aircraft led to the breakthrough launch in 1909.
RBI’s impending sale of Flight International (what an archive) leaves Farmers Weekly and Estates Gazette as the last remnants of a print legacy but, presumably, the separation of magazines from data services will apply also to those brands some time soon. The vanishing magazines actually highlight RBI’s brilliant transformation as the cornerstone of the £2bn-revenue data and analytics powerhouse of the £30bn RELX group.