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

wednesday, 1 april, 2020

A message from Air Business’ Adam Sherman

I wanted, firstly, to send my best wishes to all readers and I hope you and your families are well.

Secondly, I wanted to take this opportunity to thank my staff, who have reacted better than I could ever have imagined, and my customers who have been patient, flexible and understanding. I am very lucky to have them both!

There are two sides to Air Business: the Distribution arm and the Subscriptions bureau.

Starting with Distribution, wow… it’s been challenging! The operation remains in full flow, however we are following Government guidelines to the letter, practicing hand washing, social distancing and self-isolation where necessary. All staff that can work from home are doing so and they’ve been provided with laptops and phones to enable a relatively seamless transition. My IT department has been working flat out to roll out home working and I take my hat off to them for what they have achieved.

Each day, we are evaluating the latest news and restrictions around moving our customers’ mail around the world and adjusting our routings where needed. A good example of this was air freight into the US for our periodical registered service. The premium became so large that we negotiated a sea freight option, which added a bit more time to the delivery, but meant we could achieve a consistent service with no increase in cost. It is getting more challenging though: this week, in line with Royal Mail’s announcement, we have suspended services to a number of countries and are asking our customers to exclude these from their mailing data and also reduce their print runs where appropriate. We are updating our customers on a daily basis, ensuring they are fully aware of the latest market changes and how we are responding to these in order to minimise service disruptions. We have also set up a dedicated webpage, where our customers can find all the latest information in one place.

Our Subscriptions bureau have been nothing less than miraculous in terms of ensuring continuity of service. We had the foresight to purchase a large number of laptops to replace some of the end of life desktops and this has been invaluable in terms of enabling our Customer Service teams to work from home and deal professionally with subscribers from around the world. Quick thinking helped us transfer our Far East Manila call centre volumes, as they went into total lockdown, through to a newly created night shift in the UK with little disruption. Similarly, at our US call centre, most staff are now working from home and proving to be totally capable of responding as they would normally.

Inevitably, we are seeing an impact from this terrible situation in terms of cancelled or postponed mailings, reduced pagination due to less advertising, cancelled shows and conferences and so on. These are all totally understandable but none the less very sad for all concerned. I pray we get back to some sort of normality as quickly as possible.

Our shareholders An Post, The National Post Office of Ireland, have been extremely supportive to us despite their own challenges. They have always been big contributors to our business and I am pleased we have them at this time; it’s very reassuring.

Finally, we are doing all we can to assist our staff in terms of wellbeing and supporting them through these difficult times. To reiterate, I am eternally grateful to them for their professionalism and commitment; it has been truly breath-taking and reaffirms to me what a great company I work for.

Kind regards

Adam Sherman
Chief Executive Officer
Air Business LTD

tuesday, 25 february, 2020

PPA selects Air Business as Strategic Partner for the 11th consecutive year

The Professional Publishers Association (PPA) has announced that Air Business, the UK’s market-leader in global mail, fulfilment, distribution and subscription management has been selected to continue as PPA strategic partner for the 11th consecutive year.

The 11th year of the partnership will see Air Business as the sole sponsor of the PPA Chairman’s Reception, taking place on February 26 as well as Strategic Partner of the PPA Festival and PPA Awards, which have undergone exciting changes in both content and format. They will also be supporting the 30 Under 30 Awards and PPA Independent Publisher Awards this Autumn/Winter.

Barry McIlheney, PPA CEO commented: “I am absolutely delighted to be entering our second decade as partners with Adam Sherman and his team at Air Business.”

He added: “Over the past 10 years of our partnership, they have shown great support for our industry, and are always proactively investing in and supporting the growth of the entire publishing sector. As our members seek to grow their presence in new sectors, Air Business has ensured that they will always meet our evolving needs.”

Air Business has invested hugely in the growth of the publishing sector by evolving their subscription service model and investing in new technologies, as well as investing in a new Head Office and main distribution centre in Hatfield to enable long-term support of their clients.

Adam Sherman, Air Business’ Chief Executive Officer, said:

“A lot has changed in publishing since we first became Strategic Partner in 2010 and we are excited to be supporting publishers as they move into new markets and of course we are thrilled to be continuing our strong partnership with the Barry and his team at the PPA. Over the past year the Group cemented some very positive changes including the move of our Head Office and main distribution centre to ‘The Beacon’ in Hatfield and continuing to invest in and develop our subscriptions service model and systems. What has not changed is our passion and loyalty for the publishing industry, which stays at the heart of everything we do at Air Business.”

friday, 20 december, 2019

Togetherness: 5 minutes with… Rob Barham

In today’s challenging publishing environment, how can publishers work better together and with their supply chain partners, to ensure a profitable publishing future? We get the views of Rob Barham, Group Sales Director at Air Business.

Q: How should publishers best marshal their resources to secure a profitable future?

Publishers are best placed to focus their attention on the traditional tasks of creating content, selling content and selling advertising around that content, alongside the creation of e-commerce consumables such as gift and subscription boxes. They are beautifully positioned to understand the interests of their subscribers and market content to them.
Everything else – for example, the sourcing and buying of print, paper or distribution services – should be left to specialists, either internally hired or outsourced.
To help ensure the profitable continuation of print, publishers should review their eligibility for postal discounts, both domestic and international, and review the cost-benefit of reduced pagination.

Click to read the In Publishing Article 

tuesday, 10 december, 2019

Air Business welcomes Sophy Henn and The Dollywood Foundation

Special guest Author and Illustrator Sophy Henn visited Air Business, proudly watching her book Edie run through the wrapping lines.

Air Business has been working with the Dollywood Foundation for nine years and is proud to distribute all their children’s books throughout the UK and Ireland. More than 40,000 children living in the UK and Ireland received the gift of a book every month through the Foundation this year.

On 16th October, Air Business welcomed The Dollywood Foundation’s UK Executive Director, Marion Gillooly and Regional Director, Helen Hastle with their special guest Sophy Henn, Author and Illustrator. Sophy, whose books are being sent out to children enrolled into the programme in the UK, Ireland, US and Canada, excitedly watched her children’s book Edie run through the wrapping machine. During Sophy’s visit she also read a few of her wonderful books to local Nursery children and she very kindly signed a book for each child to take home.

Sophy Henn, Author and Illustrator, comments on her visit and the Dollywood Foundation:
“The visit to Air Business was a delight from start to finish. The lovely people. Watching the incredible machines as they labelled, wrapped and packed my book, Edie. Then story time with the brilliant children from the local nursery was the icing on the cake!
Dolly and her team work with local communities to get books into the hands of children, some of whom might not otherwise have them. It’s just such a positive scheme to be part of.”

Adam Sherman, Managing Director at Air Business adds…
“It was a pleasure to welcome Sophy, Marion and Helen at The Beacon for such a positive event. We enjoyed showing them around our distribution centre. Air Business is so proud to be in partnership with such a worthwhile foundation.”


monday, 9 december, 2019

Air Business Festive Operational Hours

As we are approaching the Christmas period we would like to share with you our operational hours for this year’s Festive Season.
If you require any more information during this period, please contact your Client Relationship Executive who will be happy to assist you on +44 (0) 1727 890 620.

tuesday, 19 november, 2019

Subscriptions Marketing: 5 minutes with… Stuart Lacey

InPublishing speaks to Stuart Lacey, MD of Air Business Subscriptions to discuss the world of subs marketing and fulfilment. As content consumption habits evolve and publishers look to increase reader revenues. What should publishers be doing?

Q: What are the best ways to maximise retention rates?

A: Traditionally, retention has always been maximised by onboarding new subscribers through a continuous payment cycle. It goes without saying, a great product and consistently great content generates loyalty! A pain free onboarding with effective and timely fulfilment and customer service throughout the subscription term with a proactive mechanism and process flow in place to save cancellations via contact centre or online is where we come in.
In addition to all of that though, demonstrating the value of being a subscriber rather than just a casual engager, is paramount to any successful renewal strategy. Retention should be thought of as a constant objective in the customer journey not just something that’s tied to scheduled payments or a rigid comms strategy. Every potential touchpoint with a subscriber, whether it be with the publisher or the bureau, should be optimised to better aid retention.


thursday, 24 october, 2019

Strengthening our Team!

John Price is the newly appointed Head of New Business Development and he has a wealth of media industry experience. His background within publishing means that he understands the requirements and challenges facing the industry.

With over 21 years’ experience in the distribution, Paul Moring joins us as Key Account Manager. With his wealth of experience and focus on customer satisfaction, Paul will be a great addition to our account management team, ensuring we prioritise our clients’ requirements and meet their service level expectations.

Additionally, we have recently appointed a new Client Relationship Manager Simon Clare. Simon brings 20 years of experience in customer service and with his passion for high standards and quality service, he will ensure the client relationship team delivers a high quality customer experience to all our customers.

tuesday, 15 october, 2019

Brexit Update – Customs Documentation

As the 31st October becomes closer we are sending this to you to give some clarity on export classifications and customs paper work required for documents and goods in particular relation to our business with you.

We have been specialising in dispatching magazines, journals and books to the EU and Rest of World destinations for well over thirty years. Most of the items we dispatch are sent out via the global postal system. There are specific customs rules relating to postal distribution that are different from commercially clearing items into an overseas country. The majority of mail items we dispatch are sent to rest of world countries as opposed to EU destinations.

We use many different postal authorities for our routings to rest of world destinations and our presentation instructions from all these postal authorities for dispatching magazines, periodicals and books is that no customs documentation is required because magazines, periodicals and books are currently classified as documents by the Universal Postal Union (UPU- the organization that sets the global parameters and rules for postal authorities around the world) rather than goods.

If we were dispatching goods to ROW countries using post we would need to affix a CN22 for items up to £270 or a CN 23 for items over £270. The CN 22 and 23 are specific postal customs forms but there are not required for dispatches of documents.



Under the UPU’s current definitions, as published in their Statistics and Accounting Guide – Appendix f ( see below ) magazines are classified as documents , not goods.


  • Books

  • CD (Compact Disk) that is not merchandise such as personal data or personal photographs

  • Item for the Blind

  • Legal contract

  • Magazine

  • Newspaper

  • Passport

  • Periodical

  • Personal correspondence

  • Photograph that is not merchandise


  • CD (Compact Disk) that is merchandise such as commercial music or software

  • Clothes

  • Computer or Tablet

  • DVD (Digital Versatile Disc or Digital Video Disc) that is merchandise such as commercial films/movies or software

  • Electrical equipment

  • Event tickets

  • Footwear and Shoes

  • Jewellery

  • Medicine or Pharmaceutical

  • Mobile phone

  • Mobile phone cover

  • Photograph that is merchandise such as a pin-up photograph or a poster

  • Sample – Medical Specimen

  • Sample – Perfume

  • Sample – Shampoo

The above is the situation as it stands at present and how it has been for many years. The rules may of course be subject to change in the future.

If in the coming weeks we get any further updates since our last Brexit communication, we will be in touch.

friday, 13 september, 2019

Air Business Brexit Update

Further to the Air Business advice earlier this year regarding a no deal Brexit and the impact upon print distribution into Europe, we would like to update you on further developments.

Air Business is uniquely positioned to be able to react to challenges in the supply chain resulting from a no deal Brexit. As we utilise a wide range of suppliers, including private commercial operators, airlines and post offices, we are able to flex our supply chain to minimise any delays.

As previously stated, there are no customs restrictions for magazines and periodicals and this will continue, it will still move as it does now through the postal systems in the event of a no deal.

We have been working with all of our 80 strong supplier base to keep up to date with their planning for a no deal and in addition to our previous advice we will be ready to:

  • Switch from road to air distribution into the EU if Dover becomes congested, this may result in a temporary increase in cost but we would consult with you as and when it became a reality.

  • Utilise other seaports such as Harwich and Holyhead which might be less congested, to move mail out of the UK, specifically into the EU.

  • Inject post directly via other routes, into suppliers in EU member states for onward distribution to other EU countries. For example, we have key suppliers in Germany and The Netherlands as well as, most importantly, our owners An Post in Ireland who already move approximately 70% of their outbound mail volume on direct flights out of Dublin.

Air Business also dispatches thousands of goods and parcels every night worldwide and already have the systems set up to deal with customs requirements if there is a hard Brexit. Please get in touch if you require further details about this.

wednesday, 11 september, 2019

Air Business Achieves BS 10012 Personal Information Management System

Air Business continues their commitment to keeping its customers’ data secure through gaining BS 10012:2017 certification for distribution and subscriptions.


Data protection is a leading concern for organizations of all sizes and sectors, many of whom manage large quantities of sensitive data. Keeping data secure is becoming more and more significant for partners in the publishing industry with such high risks on data security breaches. That’s why it is vital that publishers work with partners, such as Air Business, that embed a culture of compliance and best practice when acquiring, storing, processing and sharing personal data. Achieving certification BS 10012 supports an organisation’s information governance strategy, helping them respond to immediate and future regulatory, legal, risk and operational requirements. This certification is aligned with GDPR.

This is the latest official certification that Air Business adds to its portfolio, including ISO 27001, ISO 50001, ISO 9001 and ISO 14001. Additionally, Air Business Subscriptions has long-operated to PCI-DSS Level 1 standard which ensures that its data and financial security is at the highest level, in fact the same as the banks.


Adam Sherman, Air Business Group Managing Director comments on the achievement,
“We are extremely proud that Air Business is now BS 10012 certified. We understand that data is a precious asset for our customers and we take this very seriously as a company. We are relentless in ensuring that their data is as safe as possible. As a company, we will work to continually uphold the highest standards. ”


Andrew Parks, Head of Compliance & Infrastructure DPO, adds,
“Gaining this certification has been a stringent process. We have worked hard to put strict measures in place to continue to ensure our customers’ data is kept private. At Air Business we are trusted by our clients to handle personal data in a secure environment and BS 10012 continues to prove our commitment.”