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Welcome to the thoughts, news and insights of Air Business.

wednesday, 1 december, 2021

EU Customs VAT clampdown on subscription mail

Italian Customs are beginning to clampdown on items that do not comply with VAT rules. Air Business has worked with the PPA on an article on why it is likely that similar clampdowns could occur in other EU nations, and why publishers should take action to comply in order to prevent serious delays.


In July, the VAT exemption for the importation of goods with a value of €22 or less into EU member states was removed, meaning all goods imported into the EU are subject to VAT. Although magazines are zero-rated for VAT purposes in the UK, most EU countries operate a reduced or full rate as there is no universal exemption.


The PPA has produced a Guidance Document on the changes, which explains the new regime and possible courses of action publishers can take in greater detail. You can access the Guidance Document by clicking here.


As PPA previously advised, if publishers and sellers do not take action it is likely that subscriptions will come into the EU on a Delivered Duty Unpaid (DDU) basis – means the customer pays VAT and administration fees in order for the purchase to be released to them.


Italian Customs are now clamping down on non-compliant items, which is leading to delays in Italy. Poste Italiane is conducting thorough checks, and demanding proof of clearance, of items originating from outside the EU – including magazines and periodicals. This has also occurred in Sweden and Belgium. There is a possibility that similar clampdowns could occur in other EU countries, creating considerable disruption across multiple destinations.


These clamp downs serve as a reminder that it is imperative for publishers to work towards becoming compliant to avoid precisely these sorts of issues: it is now inevitable that compliant mail will have faster transit times.


PPA Strategic Partner Air Business, a market-leader in global mail, fulfilment, distribution and subscription management, said: “The clampdown of VAT and customs compliance in Italy is not unexpected, and supports our belief it would be unwise to gamble on whether the rules would be strictly applied or not. We have always believed it was a case of ‘when’, not ‘if’, and evidence suggests other countries are following behind – there are reports in other EU countries of subscribers being asked for local taxes before their magazine is delivered.”


To mitigate the risk of serious delays to mailings to the EU, we encourage publishers to fast-track their processes towards compliance, and we would be happy to discuss any concerns or solutions with PPA members – please contact Rob Barham at, or the PPA’s Public Affairs Executive, for more information.

wednesday, 24 november, 2021

Last Posting Dates and Air Business Festive Operational Hours 2021

As we approach Christmas and the retail Peak period, here are the last recommended international posting dates and our operational hours for this year’s Festive Season.


Download the Last Posting Dates and Air Business Festive Operational Hours 2021 PDF.


Please note: Last Posting Dates for 2021 may be impacted by on-going Covid-19 related events. Subscribe to our weekly Service Alerts for news of delays or disruptions in specific destinations that could affect the transit aims. Visit to sign-up and view the latest updates.


If you require any more information during this period, please contact your Client Services Executive on +44 (0) 1727 890 620 for assistance.

tuesday, 23 november, 2021

EU Customs Regulations Update: A new B2B service is now available

Air Business is delighted to provide a brief update on its progress relating to the customs changes for importing goods into the EU, which were implemented on 1st July.


B2C Sales

Progress has been good, with many customers registered for IOSS and utilising the Air Business IOSS-compliant service, which is working well.


B2B Sales

We now have a simple, reliable solution that our B2B customers can adopt with minimal changes that will make them compliant with the new EU rules. All of the complicated customs declarations, VAT payments and recovery through VAT returns will be carried out by Air Business and our partners.


To use this B2B process, all we need is:


– A flag in the data identifying B2B sales and B2C sales separately (assuming both transaction types are in a single file)
– A customs value (in Euro) for each EU line item
– The customs code 4902900000 (for Newspapers, Journals and Periodicals) for each EU line item


Air Business will handle everything else. We will arrange for your B2B publications to be consolidated, using the customs values you provide, and will prepare the necessary customs documentation with our partners. Furthermore, there is no need to register for VAT in the EU. Any VAT payable on import into the EU will be settled by the Air Business partner in the EU, who will recover that VAT paid on their own VAT return.


We have gone live with this service and it works well. There is little additional cost or administrative burden for our customers, and we are keen to get our B2B customer base fully on board to ensure compliance with the new EU regulations.


Customers not currently compliant or working towards compliance will be contacted by an Air Business representative soon to discuss what needs to be done to comply with the new regulations. In the meantime, if you have any questions, please contact your Account Manager, who will be pleased to help you. If you’re not a customer and would like to know more, please contact us and we’d be delighted to help


We hope we can roll out our B2B solution, or assist you with becoming IOSS compliant, as soon as possible to ensure there are no delays or extra cost caused by non-compliant mailings.

tuesday, 23 november, 2021

From A to EU: Overcoming VAT & Duty Challenges for EU destinations – New Roundtable at the PPA Independent Publisher Conference

Air Business is hosting a Roundtable at the PPA Independent Publisher Conference on Friday November 26th to discuss how to overcome EU VAT & Duty challenges and implement our tried and tested, compliant solutions.


On 1st July this year, VAT and duty regulations relating to the movement of goods (including magazines and periodicals) into EU member states from countries outside the EU, changed. Whilst some publishers were prepared for the changes, many across the industry struggled to understand the new requirements.


The session is an opportunity to learn more about the challenges facing publishers; ask questions; and find out how to implement our tried and tested, compliant solutions.


The event will be hosted by Mark Everitt, Head of Strategic Accounts, who will be joined by Kerr Nice, Head of Account Management.


Book your tickets, and find out more, on the PPA Independent Publisher Conference & Awards website.


Air Business is unable to give advice on taxation issues as it is not a taxation expert or consultancy, and strongly recommends you seek appropriate, independent tax and legal advice if you are unclear how the new regulations will affect your business.

tuesday, 9 november, 2021

Air Business Drives Forward on Carbon Footprint Reporting

Air Business is proud to have released its greenhouse gas emission and energy use figures.


Publication of the first ‘Air Business Group: Our Carbon Footprint & Sustainability’ report is the culmination of recent activity to demonstrate Air Business’s commitment to environmental responsibility and sustainability. This follows the appointment of Clare Wheeler as Chief People and Sustainability Officer and the creation of an internal Sustainability Working Group.


The report, which is also available for download at, describes Air Business’s current activity, sustainability objectives, detailed carbon footprint data and next steps.


Commenting on the report, Clare Wheeler, said, “I’m really proud that Air Business is open and transparent about our carbon footprint and what we’re doing to reduce it.” She added, “According to a recent survey, nearly 60% of young people approached across 10 countries said they felt very worried or extremely worried about climate change. With ongoing discussions at COP26 highlighting the importance of taking action now, we recognise we all have a part to play. This report, and the actions we’re taking, will help.”


Adam Sherman, CEO at Air Business, commented, “In 2014, Air Business achieved ISO 14001 certification for environmental management and launched its Environmental Policy, so we’ve focused on sustainability for several years. Publishing our carbon footprint and sustainability plans takes our commitment to another level and highlights how determined we are to do the right thing. As a wholly-owned subsidiary of An Post, one of leading sustainable organisations in Ireland, we recognise the importance of driving this issue forward.”


There are challenges, cautions Clare Wheeler. “We use our optimal routing matrix for customer mailings, which means we mix and match suppliers and services to create a bespoke route for each mailing. Calculating the carbon footprint of every route is dependent on supplier data, which isn’t always available. However, we’re working with a carbonologist to identify standard values for energy use for our main destinations and methods of transport, which will input into our data in due course.”


Air Business is working closely with customers to support their sustainability plans and identify ways to reduce Air Business’s carbon impact on their operations. It is also an active member of the PPA’s Sustainability Action Group, and has been audited by a leading environmental standards company in Ireland, in collaboration with its owner, An Post, and is awaiting the report.

thursday, 14 october, 2021

Air Business nominated for Industry Partner of the Year at the PPA Independent Publisher Awards!

The nomination is for our work supporting clients with the EU VAT & Duty changes and keeping them informed of the solutions we offered to overcome the challenges they faced.


The Industry Partner of the Year award recognises the suppliers to the industry who have really gone the extra mile in their partnerships with independent publishers.


Our entry had to clearly demonstrate:


    • * Evidence of service levels
    • * A genuine partnership with publishers
    • * Meeting or exceeding client objectives and expectations
    • * Innovation and creativity in finding solutions
    • * Working towards sustainability alternatives and best working practices


Air Business also sponsors the ‘Best Response to COVID-19’ award, and we look forward to congratulating the winner.


The Award ceremony is on Friday November 26 in London, and you can view the full shortlist on the Awards website.

PPA IPA Finalist logo

thursday, 14 october, 2021

Peerless Services: Debrett’s Appoints Air Business for Membership Management

Debrett’s, the world’s leading etiquette authority and publisher of the renowned Debrett’s Peerage and Baronetage since 1769, has selected Air Business Subscriptions to provide a range of membership management services.


Air Business Subscriptions, the subscription and membership management division of the Air Business Group, will provide Debrett’s digital platforms with access/permission control services, order taking both online and via the phone, payment management, customer services, and customer communications.


The services will cover every aspect of Debrett’s expertise – Etiquette resources; Peerage and Baronetage resources; and a bundled package of Etiquette and Peerage and Baronetage resources.


Ian Burrows, Managing Director of Debrett’s, said “Debrett’s has a proud 250-year publishing heritage, which sits comfortably alongside our newer Coaching Academy and online resources. As content delivery continues to migrate online we needed to transform our business and capitalise on the historic and contemporary value of our digital content, Air Business Subscriptions impressed us with their high quality subscription services and customer service interactions, which are exactly in line with the high expectations of Debrett’s customers.”


Duncan Taylor, Managing Director at Air Business Subscriptions, added “We are immensely proud to have been selected by Debrett’s to serve their extremely discerning membership with our high end, market leading membership services. We look forward to working with Debrett’s, its members and its prestigious content over the coming years.”

tuesday, 21 september, 2021

From A to Back In Town

Air Business was delighted to sponsor the PPA’s Back In Town event on Wednesday 15th September.


Taking place at Happenstance, near St Paul’s Cathedral, London, the networking event was the first in-person PPA event since the start of the pandemic.


The evening was also the first for the new PPA Chief Executive, Sajeeda Merali, who addressed members for the first time, alongside PPA Chairman and Executive Chairman of Immediate Media Co., Tom Bureau.


Adam Sherman, Air Business CEO, gave a speech thanking the Air Business team for all their hard work and dedication during the pandemic.


It was great to see so many friends and colleagues, and we look forward to supporting the PPA at more events in the future.

PPA Back In Town Adam Sherman at PPA Back In Town PPA Back In Town Sajeeda Merali PPA Back In Town

thursday, 5 august, 2021

EU VAT & Duty Changes: What Publishers Need to Know and the Action They Must Take

On 1st July this year, VAT and duty regulations relating to the movement of goods (including magazines and periodicals) into EU member states from countries outside the EU, changed. Adam Sherman, CEO of Air Business, looks at the implications for publishers.


The main changes can be summarised as:


  • – The VAT exemption for the importation of goods valued less than €22 has been removed

  • – All goods imported to the EU will be subject to VAT

  • – Although VAT will be applicable on ALL goods, Duty will only be payable on imports with a value of over €150


Historically, magazines, journals and periodicals have been treated as printed matter in the postal world –  not goods – and while the UK was part of the Free Market British businesses did not need to consider VAT and duty to other member states. Obviously, this has now changed and all UK businesses selling into the EU need to understand the new rules and their implications.


It is clear to us that magazines and periodicals do come under the scope of the new regulations and will now attract VAT on importation into the EU, despite what you may have been told by other mailing partners. It simply may be that they do not have the capability or expertise to handle this for you. Also, it is vital that sample data is generated and tested before distribution as missing information may result in the item being rejected by Customs or charged VAT on delivery.


The focus of the EU Post Offices and Customs authorities may not initially be on magazines and periodicals, but we believe it would be unwise to gamble on which countries will or will not be strictly applying the rules and when. There is also the possibility of retrospective VAT claims by Customs authorities.


For the time being, whilst Publishers are in the process of becoming compliant, we believe there should be enough leeway with Customs around Europe. However, we must stress that not becoming compliant is not sustainable in the medium to long term.


There are solutions available to assist Publishers. One is the Import One Stop Shop (IOSS) for Business-to-Consumer transactions of €150 or less. It is a Delivery Duty Paid (DDP) scheme where the customer pays the VAT at the point of purchase.


In summary, Publishers register for the service in an EU member state and are allocated an IOSS number that allows them to trade into all member states. The Publisher charges the appropriate VAT rate in the customer’s country at the point of purchase. They make a VAT return in their EU country of registration, breaking down the VAT payable in each of the EU member states for the period and paying the balance due. When the goods enter the EU, the IOSS number is referenced on the documentation to ensure no VAT is payable on the movement of the goods, nor by the end customer.


This solution requires additional data to process, such as IOSS number, Customs Harmonised System (HS) code and the Unit Price (in Euros). For magazine and periodicals, this should be the value of the package, not the subscription amount. Eg, if an annual subscription is 120 Euros and the publication is issued monthly, the data required is one twelfth of the subscription value (10 Euros).


If a Publisher does not wish to use IOSS, or decides to carry on as normal, the items will be sent as Delivery Duty Unpaid (DDU), which means customers aren’t charged VAT at the point of purchase and must pay it and any administration fees, which could be high, prior to receiving the goods.


Given the inevitable confusion that follows a major change of regulations, it is likely these items will continue to get delivered without any charges being applied in the short term. However, this risk must be borne by the Publisher and balanced against the possibility of poor customer service and reputational risk in asking customers to pay the VAT and any admin fees locally.


It’s clear that publishers must ensure they engage with tax experts to understand their obligations under the new regulations and must ensure their distribution suppliers are fully prepared to deal with the new data requirements and processes.


Air Business have commenced compliant mailings for customers who have their IOSS number, have generated the required data in the correct format, and are working with many other customers on testing sample data. We’ve held client forums and liaised with the PPA on supporting publishers with these changes, and are happy to share our insights in more detail.


Contact us to find out more.


Please note: Air Business is unable to give advice on taxation issues as it is not a taxation expert or consultancy, and strongly recommends you seek appropriate, independent tax and legal advice if you are unclear how the new regulations will affect your business.

wednesday, 4 august, 2021

Print Post-Pandemic: Positive outlook

Writing for InPublishing, Air Business CEO, Adam Sherman, gives his view on the future of print as we emerge from lockdown.


It had become very easy before the pandemic to write-off print as a viable medium in the face of a – seemingly – overwhelming surge of digital content. To some, print was heading towards niche status. Yesterday’s product; just for purists.


However, I’ve always believed in a place for print in the market. Whether on its own or part of a bundle, print has a valuable part to play in the mix. The pandemic and lockdown conditions showed just how exciting that part could be and how positive the outlook is.


Many of our publisher clients saw an increase in subscriptions over lockdown. From March 2020 to January 2021, we supported them with campaigns and round-the-clock customer service, and saw increases of up to 36%, many of which were print or print bundles.


It’s more than 12 months since the start of lockdown and many of those ‘new’ subscriptions have renewed. It demonstrates that customers have returned to print and, crucially, liked it enough to stay with it. It also suggests a demand for a more tranquil, tactile reading experience that print satisfies so well.


But, what next? Publishers should keep the momentum going with print content aimed at a post-lockdown society that is willing to embrace change and new experiences, and discover and rediscover new passions. Whether it’s craft, travel, sports, cooking or DIY, the benefits of print as a medium to guide and instruct can be substantial.


Print publishers may also wish to explore different frequencies. For example, would fortnightly issues bridge the gap between instant digital content and waiting a month for new content? It’s the full print experience without a large gap between editions.


There is a note of caution to be raised, however, in the form of new Value Added Tax (VAT) and Duty regulations relating to the movement of goods (including magazines and periodicals) into EU member states from countries outside the EU. These took effect from 1st July 2021 and, as a result, all goods imported to the EU are now subject to VAT.


Air Business has established business models to fit the circumstances and requirements of our customers but publishers not prepared for the changes may struggle to get their content distributed effectively. However, this should not be seen as a reason to reduce print runs. Demand from subscribers in the EU for high quality, English-language publications is holding up strong as ex-pats seek a taste of home or follow their favourite interests, or local customers access content that isn’t necessarily available in their home markets.


And whilst customers could get all this through an app or browser, there’s still nothing quite like the soft thud of paper on doormat and the anticipation of a new edition.


You can read the article on the InPublishing website and subscribe to the magazine.