Airline Weekly is promoting reporter Edward “Ned” Russell into the top role of editor. At the same time, the subscription newsletter’s co-founder Jay Shabat is returning to the publication as senior analyst. The moves position Airline Weekly, a Skift brand, for its next phase of exciting growth that will extend beyond stories, analysis, podcasts and events into new areas.
“I can’t think of a better pairing to spearhead the next chapter for Airline Weekly as the global industry’s most essential publication,” Skift founder and CEO Rafat Ali said. “Between Ned’s hyper-newsiness and Jay’s unmatched analytical strengths, an Airline Weekly subscription becomes even more of a must-have in the aviation industry for anybody looking for an advantage.” Rounding out the airline team for Skift is Editor-at-Large Brian Sumers.
Russell succeeds Madhu Unnikrishnan who left the publication earlier in June to pursue other opportunities. Russell brings a wealth of experience and passion for aviation into his new job. Skift hired Russell in November 2020 to cover airlines after stints at The Points Guy, FlightGlobal, and other earlier reporting gigs.
Russell is a voracious user of social media and has a wide following within the aviation industry. Along with Unnikrishnan, he helped make Airline Weekly more timely and relevant with the launch of the AW Daily story each day. Airline Weekly has also been an essential component in the Skift Aviation Forum, an event being held in-person this year in Dallas.
When he’s not cranking out stories and posts, Russell, who lives in Washington, D.C. with his family, can be found on his off-hours at airports, flying on airplanes he loves, or riding trains as a passionate fan of all modes of transportation.
Shabat, who co-founded Airline Weekly in 2004 with friends Seth Kaplan and Jason Cottrell, is returning after leaving the publication in 2020. Shabat, a former airline analyst, was instrumental in Airline Weekly’s growth and success over the years as a must-read in aviation C-suites, writing lengthy cover stories, and crunching earnings and other industry data. Skift purchased the subscription newsletter in 2018.
Shabat, who lives with his family in New Jersey, will be bringing his long institutional knowledge of aviation to stories for Airline Weekly and help make the publication even more of a required read for the industry.
As he likes to recount, Shabat spent his Friday and Saturday evenings in college in the library “reading every back issue of Air Transport World dating to the 1960s. At some point I said to myself, hey, I want to write about airlines myself.” Shabat worked as an analyst for US Airways and Air France before deciding to launch Airline Weekly.