Nine decades after its first inky copies rolled off the presses, Flight International had by the turn of the century become the flagship of a fast-growing aviation information services group, and was accelerating into the age of electronic publishing.
When I became Editor in 2001, our sister magazine Airline Business and premium online news service Air Transport Intelligence were already established. Next step was the relaunch of our fledgling Flight International internet site into flightglobal.com, a free-access web portal for what had become the Flight family of products. With today's half a million visitors viewing 4.6 million pages each month, the site - complete with blogs, video clips and a community forum - has given the Flight brand a reach into the world of aviation that could not have been imagined a decade earlier.
Meanwhile, the magazine itself has gone from strength to strength, despite changes in the way business and professional people consume information. Two redesigns this decade and maintaining the best team of journalists in the business have seen Flight International retain its crown as the best-read aerospace magazine outside the USA.
Thanks to the magazine's authority and respect, our owner Reed Business Information has been able to develop the strongest portfolio of aviation information products in the industry. They include a series of daily newspapers published at air shows and conventions ranging from Paris and Farnborough to smaller events such as the Aircraft Interiors exhibition at Hamburg. We are also behind the unique Flight Evening News concept - the industry's only "same day" show dailies - at the two big business aviation gatherings in Europe and North America. Today, the Flight umbrella encompasses premium products such as ACAS and Commercial Aviation Online, the flightblogger blog, conferences and networking events, electronic newsletters, and the JP Airline Fleets directory.
The 2000s have seen us chart some momentous developments, including the crash and subsequent retirement of Concorde the war on terror, industry downturn and security backlash that followed 9/11 the ousting of the Boeing Sonic Cruiser with the 787 and the entry into service of the world's biggest airliner, the Airbus A380. We covered the pushing of the bounds of technology as civil tiltrotors, a "spaceliner" and very light jets took to the air for the first time. Many of these exciting new aircraft have been captured in their inner glory as a Flight International cutaway.
The period has seen the unfortunate departure from Flight International of some veteran journalistic heavyweights - including Graham Warwick, Guy Norris and Paul Lewis. But they have been replaced with a new generation of writers - many of whom are destined to leave their considerable mark on aerospace journalism. The magazine's stories continue to set the agenda for much industry coverage in the wider media and our senior journalists, such as operations and safety editor David Learmount, are regularly called upon by television and newspapers to provide expert commentary on events.
The world of publishing has changed greatly in 10 years - let alone 100. Trade magazines face many challenges in a digital information age. But by moving with the times (our new electronic version is about to hit the ether) and keeping quality at the forefront, Flight International is entering its second proud century as the magazine that continues to get under the skin of the global aerospace industry.
Continue reading the history of Flight Magazine