Sunday, June 16, 2024
Ian Martin Jones – An Appreciation

Ian Martin Jones – An Appreciation

Ian Martin Jones – known to all as IMJ – editor of 666 issues of Air Cargo Week from 1999 to 2012, passed away last month after a short illness.

IAN was born in Trowbridge, Wiltshire to Evan and Margaret Jones. He had one sister, Dr Margaret, who survives him.

A great lover of oysters and Scandi Noir tv drama, Ian relished the travel opportunities provided by his time as editor of ACW. As well as oysters and seafood, Ian loved everything Greek: this was most clear in the wedding reception organised for his and Anne’s wedding where a Greek banquet was put on. All plates survived the dinner.

In his leisure time, Ian enjoyed gardening, crossword puzzles, Suduko and early rock and roll, and the music of Bo Diddley. He also indulged in the writing of novels, none published, as an outlet for a more creative writing activity.

His television tastes were very much detective and crime fiction. This included Scandi Noir and, towards the end of his life, Breaking Bad. In later life, his wife Anne introduced him to opera, taking him to performances of the classics, such as Pucini’s Tosca and the Marriage of Figaro.

Given his Welsh background, it comes as little surprise he had an interest in rugby while also being interested in cricket. Before marrying Anne, Ian had had a long relationship with Dorothy, who died in the mid-1990s.

During his time at ACW, Ian found himself jetting off around the world on many occasions. Not surprisingly, this meant he met a number of celebrities on his travels. Among them were British politican Nigel Lawson and cricketer Mike Gatting. However the personality that Ian enjoyed meeting most was supermodel Claudia Schiffer.

Ian loved Wales and all things Welsh, thanks to his family roots in the principality. It was fitting for a man whose favourite quote was “I have not begun to fight,” from John Paul Jones of Led Zepplin, that, unbidden, words from the great Welshman Dylan Thomas came to mind to those who visited Ian on his death-bed: “Do not go gentle into that good night/Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”

Not that his last days saw Ian descend into self-pity or introspection. He was as generous to visitors to his bedside as he had been welcoming throughout his working life, never descending to self-pity or recrimination.

Since his death last month, appreciation has come from those that Ian wrote about and those he helped in their writing careers. One of the first to show an appreciation was Ram Menen, a founding member of The International Air Cargo Association (TIACA) and divisional senior vice president for Emirates SkyCargo for three decades.

He said: “We have all lost a good friend and the industry has lost a great journalist. I have known him for decades, as I recall, just before he took on the role of the editor at the start of the publication. He was always very genuine and a true gentleman.

“I always enjoyed my interaction with him, both on and off work-related activities. He was a very hard working journalist; however, he always found time to have a quick beverage with me and share some intellectual discussions. I always enjoyed my interviews with him as he really had an in-depth knowledge of the industry and was never worried about misquotations from him.

“It was always great to see him on Facebook enjoying his life in retirement with Anne. We have all lost a good friend and the industry has lost a great journalist.”

Ian joined A-Z Group as news editor of Air Cargo Week between the launch issue of May1998 and regular publishing of the newspaper in September that year.

Working under the second ACW editor, Martin Roebuck, Ian began to raise his profile in the industry, spreading the brand of the newly-launched newspaper and cultivating the contacts that would put the newspaper in a strong position against its well-established incumbent rival, Air Cargo News.

After the sudden departure of Roebuck in December 1998, Ian stepped up to take the editor’s role while remaining news editor.

He was confirmed in position as editor in January 2000 after a year.

Do not go gentle

Present editor ACW James Graham, who also served under launch editor, Andrew J Baker, Roebuck and Ian as reporter, recalls the moment that he announced his promotion to the role of editor.

Graham says: “Ian came into the office carrying a piece of paper, presumably his contract, uttering the historical reference: ‘I have a piece of paper in my hand’.

“Working with Ian on the early era of Air Cargo Week was fun and something I cherish. In coming back 20 years after I was let go following 9/11, I attempted to return the newspaper to the values that Ian had started on his eventual journey to editing 666 issues in the 13 years he was here.

“I have not reached the ton but Ian was very appreciative of the changes I had made and my thoughts about returning it to his design and content ideas.”

Into the good night

Leading airfreight and transport public relations veteran Derek Jones had a long relationship with Ian, promoting the various airfreight clients to the newspaper.

Jones says: “I knew Ian for around 30 years, in his various editorial posts, and as a freelancer. I always found him friendly, approachable, thorough in his research and accurate in his reporting. But, more than that, he was always good-humoured, patient and gentlemanly – even when he was suffering the same tight deadlines to which we are all slaves in the logistics media business. In short, he was a true professional, and an ambassador for whatever publication he represented.

“My clients all liked him, and always commented on what a nice chap he was, and how well he knew his subject matter. And my many other industry friends and associates also regarded him in the highest esteem: that’s how he could always seem to get through so easily to the top people in our business, even where others struggled.”

He continued: “I knew and worked with Ian’s many staff over all those years, too; and I know what deep respect and affection they hold for him. I think we all regarded Ian as a kind of father-figure who was – even when much younger – somehow wise beyond his years.

“In all those years I knew and worked with Ian, I never heard anyone – employee, industry contact or competitor – speak of him in less than the highest terms. The news of his premature passing has shocked and deeply saddened all who knew him, including myself. He’s a great loss to our industry – but he’ll be rightly remembered as the true gentleman who performed a difficult job while still making a friend of everyone he encountered.”

Fellow airfreight industry PR, Jamie Roche, agreed: “Ian was an accomplished and highly respected journalist and editor. He honed his skills in the national press in Fleet Street before seamlessly transitioning into the world of B2B media, recognising the need to not only report the latest news to his global air cargo audience but also a responsibility to promote the industry and encourage its growth, which he did successfully over so many years.

“I will always remember his welcoming smile and positivity whenever we met and his love of a good story. Most of all, Ian was just a lovely, decent man who excelled at his job and made friends wherever he went.

“His inspiration will doubtless live on in the many journalists and industry colleagues who had the pleasure to work with him and to learn from him.”

Airfreight consultant Roger Kagan echoed Jones’s comments. It was “sad news, and as one in freight I kept “falling over him”. I recall him very well at Handy Shipping amongst others.”

Rage, rage

When Air Cargo Week emerged in the 1990s, Des Vertannes, formerly of IATA, Etihad and GulfAir Cargo recalls his initial thought was the publication would struggle to maintain its weekly schedule.

He says: “Its competitors were twice monthly or monthly with the only weekly paper being a multimodal journal largely focused on ocean and road freight with minimal air cargo content. However when I first met Ian he was calm, assured, quietly confident of his plans and simply professional in approach and through his editorials. He probed and pressed for the right topics to print and headline and his reports gained credibility and broader geographical attention within a few years.

“Ian was a wonderful human being, soft spoken, kind, patient but intolerant of those that let him down. I got to know Ian extremely well and he truly did everything he could to promote and extol the value of the air cargo industry.

“We shared a passion for the Algarve and the local Portuguese tinto, exchanging many stories and experiences mostly relating to venues for fine cuisine and particular wines. I was thrilled to see Ian last September at Emma Murray’s 10th anniversary celebration of her company and our last communication was when he was in hospital on 14 May planning a lunch at one of many pubs he knew in the ‘Fens’ with our wives. I will miss him as will the industry he served.. My thoughts are with Anne, his family and friends. Bless you IMJ and RIP friend.”


Emma Murray, London-based industry PR recalls: “It feels as if it was only last week, but we are probably talking over two decades ago, that I found myself on a journalists’ airline junket, sitting on a coach in Shanghai next to the inimitable Ian Martin-Jones – as it turns out, our first of many trips together in the pursuit of an air cargo splash.

“It was immediately apparent that he was fantastically good company, and also clear that he knew his job, and so, rookie as I was, I relaxed into spending time with him, enjoying the banter, whilst ruthlessly exploiting his knowledge and, let’s face it, copying his style.

“I stole his calm and composed approach to the press conference situation. He would ask the question, and if the answer did not come, he would simply ask again, unphased and appearing slightly confused “Hugh Grant Style” – he would pursue that question until it was answered, or not, and proceed accordingly with his copy.

“As time went by, I grew from cub reporter to launching a PR business – Ian was there at every step, encouraging and reassuring, and always with good humour.” She concludes: “Thank you, Ian, for everything you taught me, for being such great good fun, always, and for having faith, sometimes when others did not. A true gent and a pro, you will be sorely missed – for those of us who worked with you and knew you well, a privilege.

The dying of the light

Phillip Hastings, former ACW correspondent recalls: “I worked with IMJ for many years, both on Air Cargo Week and Heavy Lift & Project Forwarding International.

“Few editors worked so conscientiously and put in as many hours to ensure their publication appeared on time and with good editorial content as Ian.

“Yet even when under great pressure to meet a deadline, his dry sense of humour usually shone through, albeit it often laced with the healthy dose of cynicism which tends to come with the territory after decades of working as a journalist! A good man to work with and I will remember him with a smile.”


Staffers past & present

A fixture on Ian’s desk at the Air Cargo Week office was an enormous blue ceramic mug, continually refilled with coffee throughout the day. That mug of his, which must have held nearly a pint of liquid, was marked ‘Carpe diem’. It suited him well. He sparkled with energy, enthusiasm and wit, and loved to tell stories of the various adventures he had had during a lifetime of travelling the world.

One year, after Air Cargo Europe in Munich, Ian took the ACW editorial team on a road trip around Bavaria. He organised everything and did all the driving, relishing his role as official tour guide. It was a wonderful way for all of us to wind down from the adrenaline rush of producing daily newspapers at the exhibition and ACW awards.

Those of us who worked for Ian always felt we were working with him. He won our respect and love by the genuine care he always showed for his team, as well as his professional dedication to quality. Whatever the pressures, he quietly got on with doing an excellent job. I have always been incredibly grateful for his guidance and encouragement in pursuing a career in journalism. He was an inspiring mentor, an excellent boss and a great friend.

Megan Ramsey, ACW 2007-2012



As editor, Ian was my boss when I joined the Air Cargo Week team as deputy editor. It was very quickly apparent that he was a superb editor as well as a brilliant boss.

He was a calm and reassuring presence in amongst the occasional tumult of a weekly publication, passing on his wealth of experience and his skills completely unselfishly. When under pressure, he never attempted to pass on any of the load, instead always keeping calm and ensuring that a high quality magazine was produced. And not once was it published late.

He managed the responsibilities of running the editorial team without seemingly even thinking about it – always a sure sign of somebody born to lead. Even during the long days of producing a daily event [newspaper] such as for the Air Cargo Europe or Air Cargo China exhibitions, for which 16-hour working days were the norm rather than the exception, his reassuring hand at the tiller meant that the work was done well, while making sure the job was always enjoyable.

He will be greatly missed by all those who worked with him and by those who had the privilege of calling him their friend.

Mike Bryant, Deputy Editor ACW 2006-2012



I worked with Ian Martin Jones for over fifteen years.

During that time I found him to be very dedicated and a superb editor. He was totally professional at all times. I regarded Ian as a friend and valued work colleague.

I remember on one business trip together to the Middle East in August. Ian loved being outside and even though the humidity levels were intense at that time of the year he insisted on us eating our steaks outside rather than in the comfort of the air conditioned dining room. During the course of the meal we both were dripping with sweat and by the time the espressos came around at the end of the meal he could not stand it any longer.

He threw himself into the fountain that was situated close to where we were eating and cooled off. Ian was a great guy and a very decent and kind individual. We will miss him.

Richard Broom, Former ACW Sales Director



I had the pleasure of working with Ian for five years. During our time together working at Air Cargo Week we worked on hundreds of newspapers and magazines together.

We went on various trips together, including Shanghai and Munich where we produced the ACW dailies.

I had a lot of fond memories with Ian; I remember Ian organising a chauffeur to bus us all around the sights of Shanghai which was amazing. This showing evident that he would always go out of his way for others. And he never expected anything in return.

He will be greatly missed by me and so many others. A great loss to anyone that had the privilege of meeting him. Rest in peace mate!

Alex Brown, Design & Production Manager, ACW 2008 to present


Picture of James Graham

James Graham

James Graham is an award-winning transport media journalist with a long background in the commercial freight sector, including commercial aviation and the aviation supply chain. He was the initial Air Cargo Week journalist and retuned later for a stint as editor. He continues his association as editor of the monthly supplements. He has reported for the newspaper from global locations as well as the UK.


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