It’s not often that you hear about a top aircraft engineer and industry executive making the leap into publishing, but that’s exactly what Jonathan Norris, formerly Airbus vice-president cabin design office, has done.
The Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX) has selected Ink (known for its in-flight magazines) to produce the association’s quarterly magazine and other APEX media, and in turn Ink has named Norris as executive director and editor-in-chief.
Explaining his decision to make such a big career change, Norris tells RWG: “After 25 years working for different airframers, I’m ready to take on a different line of challenges. I have really good industry experience and in the last couple of years, I’ve been getting more into media, marketing, communications and innovation, and looking at how engineering impacts the whole business of the passenger’s experience of flying. I felt like this was a great opportunity to take a change in direction and get back to being more creative.”
So where will Norris take the quarterly magazine?
“What we’re looking to do is lift the game in terms of being a trade magazine, lifting the level of editorial such that we bring the magazine to a level where people in the industry really need to read it, particularly the airlines. We want it to be more snappy, a magazine that C-level executives are happy to have on their desks and will refer to,” says Norris.
Since changing its name from the World Airline Entertainment Association (WAEA) to APEX, the association has broadened its scope to include key elements of the passenger experience, adding in-flight services and pre-flight services to its standard focus on in-flight entertainment, connectivity and content. As such, the magazine will cover the various touch points of the passenger experience.
“There is a big push in the market to encourage passengers to use their smart phones to check in with e-tickets. The next logical thing is you keep your phones switched on during flight, ensure that connectivity blocks interference [with avionics] and while you’re on the aircraft there may be other things you do with your smart phone,” says Norris.
In addition to the magazine, Norris will head up a brand new Ink-produced news digest, which will be launched during the first week of July, and issued every two weeks. A blog and various social media, driven by Norris, will go live in conjunction with the news digest. “It will all be hosted on the APEX web site, a redesign of which is underway,” says Norris. Ink will also be responsible for producing the show dailies at the annual APEX expo.
APEX’s ultimate goal is to offer a media platform that will “become the industry’s leading forum to discuss, debate and learn how to improve the airline passenger experience, in search for ancillary revenues to respond to rising fuel prices”.
So no pressure, then?
Seriously, though, I consider Jon a good friend, and I wish him all the best in his new career. He tweets as @nonnyjorris by the way.
These are also exciting days for APEX, which is looking to become more of a voice for the industry than in the past. “We’re going through this period where we have an increase in fuel prices, so we want to help the industry improve its game,” says Norris.
Let the fun begin!