Air International

Aviation-related Magazines Guide

Key Facts

Availability: News-stand
Issues / Year: 12
ISSN: 0306-5634
First Year: 1974
Last Year: current
Publisher: Key Publishing Ltd
Country: United Kingdom
Language: English
Main Genre: general
Aviation Only? Yes
Current Status: Current

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‘Air International’ first appeared in June 1971, under the title ‘Air Enthusiast’. This was the old ‘Flying Review International’ back from the dead. Using the same team of editors, writers and artists as for the former title, the new publisher, (Fine Scroll Ltd), managed to improve on the best of FRI, before that publication had gone into its final decline. The new title quickly attained the position of Britain’s premier aviation magazine.

It was renamed ‘Air Enthusiast International’ in January 1974, then simplified to ‘Air International’ in July 1974 to reflect its growing worldwide readership. The magazine was widely acclaimed for its authoritative, well written, articles and good mix of civil/military and modern/historical subjects. The feature articles mainly concentrated on aircraft types, air forces/airlines and pilot’s impressions of flying famous World War Two aircraft types. Always well illustrated, this magazine was the original source of all those cutaway drawings and colour profiles which were widely published in so many books and partworks the 1970s and 1980s.

In the July 1989, the title was sold to Tri-Service Press, who appeared to be steering the editorial content away from the traditional mix to a more contemporary bias. Tri-Service ran into financial difficulties in late 1990 but, fortunately, Key Publishing Ltd, (publishers of ‘Flypast’ and ‘Air Forces Monthly’) stepped in to buy the title. Subsequently, with an excellent new editor, the quality and authority of the title was soon restored.

From about 1998 the coverage of the various Key Publishing aviation titles was rationalised. All the historical features of ‘Air International’ were transferred to the bi-monthly ‘Air Enthusiast’, and the former title adopted a more contemporary focus.

During the early 2000s, cost-cutting measures saw the gradual removal of all artwork, (cutaways, 3-view drawings ansd colour profiles), from the magazine in favour of bigger colour photographs. In so doing, it completely lost its distinctive character, and became a bland picture magazine.

The editorial content also became less focussed, with numerous short features illustrated by big photographs, photo reports on military exercises, and other types of article that did not belong in ‘Air International’ also appearing more often. On the other hand, an improved coverage of parapublic operators did help to improve reader interest.

In late 2017 ‘Air International’ was given a design makeover, to help boost its ailing circulation figures. This featured a ridiculously bloated news section which takes up fully one third of the entire magazine, and a feature on the Mitsubishi X-2 which didn’t include a table of technical data. An 18-page feature on the Boeing 777X may herald a new emphasis on in-depth quality writing which could yet save the title from closure.

Publishing History

First issue dated June 1971. Published monthly by Fine Scroll Ltd until July 1989 when the title was sold to Tri-Service Press. Tri-Service Press collapsed in December 1990, and the title was taken over by Key Publishing Ltd.
The editors were William Green (1971-1980); Gordon Swanborough (1980-2000); Malcolm English (2000-2008+); Mark Ayton (20xx-present).

Contents/Issues Produced

Volume 1 No. 1 June 1971 to present day.
A couple of issues were not published in the gap between the demise of Tri-Service and the rescue by Key Publishing.

Digital Access

Digital editions of this title have been available on PocketMags since xxx.
There are no known plans for making back issues of this title available in digital/PDF format, either online or via DVD. There are no issues available on Issuu.

Special Issues

No stand-alone special issues were produced.

Further information

Magazine Exchange
Air International

Cover Gallery

To be added.
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See other aviation-related magazines from United Kingdom.
See the full aviation magazines database here.

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