The Airline Industry’s Most Interesting Publication (And Why That’s Important)

The challenge to become the most interesting industry publication inspired Airline Weekly’s launch in 2004 and remains the driving inspiration for its editors today. It’s also what keeps our subscribers coming back year after year.

But is “more interesting” really all that important? At the end of the day, does it matter whether a trade publication is stimulating? We think it is and here we are going to make our case that “interesting” is of critical importance, tangibly impacting our readers’ careers and their companies’ prospects.

When you choose any weekly publication, you’re inviting that voice into your life. It becomes a part of your routine and it demands your attention for an hour or so. Publications are a bit like colleagues—some are more interesting than others. There are those you want to invite to your office because they come with valuable insight or new ideas to challenge you. And there are those with whom you avoid making eye contact and to whom you would never commit even a lunch hour. To make matters worse, the digital age has ushered in more flimsy publications than ever before. So what kind of publication do you want to let into your office? What kind of publication is good enough to be a voice on your team? What kind of publication deserves your time? Answer: one that is concise, filters out the noise and provides critical context, new ideas and industry insight.

To accomplish that, Airline Weekly uniquely plays two seemingly opposing roles—delivering a to-the-point weekly overview of the industry while still providing a surprising depth of insight along the way. We think—and our readers apparently agree—this is the right balance and one that can save you time, which also helps your career or business.

Other publications fall into to two types. There are the just-the-facts, stream-of-headlines type: …who bought new planes… who’s merging with whom… and who will soon be flying to Athens or Honolulu. And then there is the type that goes on and on about every subject. Does anyone really need a 12-inch story about a new route announcement complete with quotes from the CEO about how “thrilled” they are to add Madrid to the airline’s network rather than a shorter item about why the announcement really matters to the airline and its competitors?

Do not let either type into your office. And by all means, don’t give them your email address. They will waste your time.

Fortunately, Airline Weekly exists in the sensible middle, providing more than the headline but limiting ourselves to only what’s interesting. Now of course, a skeptic could say our claim to be “more interesting” is just a bunch of sales puffery. So, let us SHOW you with a concrete example excerpted from the 20 October 2014, Airline Weekly. Read this and meet us below:

The reclusive airline IndiGo certainly isn’t shy about aircraft ordering. It got its start last decade with a giant A320-CEO order (in 2005), became the first airline in the world (in 2011) to order A320-NEOs and last week announced its biggest order yet. The Indian LCC signed a memorandum of understanding for 250 firm A320-NEO orders—yes, 250—making it the biggest single Airbus order ever in terms of units purchased (if not total value—widebodies cost more). IndiGo also secured purchase rights to buy another 100 NEOs, surely negotiating impressive volume discounts of the sort that probably help explain the relative success it claims. It doesn’t publish audited financials. But IndiGo rapidly established itself as India’s busiest domestic carrier. It has sharp marketing and a loyal following. Key to placing such big orders, moreover, is IndiGo’s capital-rich financial backers, including an IT conglomerate and an investment firm owned by Rakesh Gangwal, who as US Airways CEO in the late 1990s, negotiated a giant Airbus order. He also held senior executive positions with Airbus customers United and Air France, giving him lots of credibility with the folks in Toulouse. Additional capital could come from a rumored IPO. It is worth mentioning, though, that unlike Ryanair, easyJet and others that secured a deep competitive advantage by ordering big following the September 2001 attacks, IndiGo’s 2005 purchase came at a time when the aircraft market was stronger. IndiGo obviously believes that India has too few planes for its giant population. And give it credit for sustaining growth as Kingfisher collapsed, Jet Airways needed rescue funds from Etihad and SpiceJet had a near-death experience. But the competition won’t get any easier. Last week, Vistara—with financially muscular backers of its own, namely Singapore Airlines and the giant Tata conglomerate—welcomed its first A320 in Delhi. Tata is also behind AirAsia India. SpiceJet appears to be on the mend. Jet is bathing in Etihad money. And GoAir has a large A320-NEO order.

This could have been a very simplistic “IndiGo orders 250 planes” story. But instead, the reader learns some pertinent history, real understanding of the financing, comparisons to other big aircraft deals, and the deal’s implications to the Indian competitive landscape. And it’s not like we’re prattling on. We do all that in just 300 words. There’s an advantage to spending a few moments reading this insightful versus the typical reporting out there. Now multiply that advantage by 20 or 30 such instances within an issue. Then multiply that by 48 issues a year. That advantage adds up.

This is what we mean by a more interesting publication. Is that of value? We think so. Things that are interesting are so because they are revealing. When things are revealed, we gain understanding. Our contention is that understanding is exponentially more valuable than just knowing. Truly understanding anything means that not only do you know what’s happening, but you are more likely to know what’s going to happen. And that’s the real trick—something invaluable to businesses, careers and time management.

For more insights, become a Skift Airline Weekly subscriber today.