AFTER facing repeated calls for a break up of the group, John Menzies directors appear confident their decision to focus on the aviation support market makes sense.

The resulting sale of the newspaper distribution division, due to complete next month, will mark a decisive break with the past for the group. Menzies has been connected to the news trade since soon after it began life as a book shop in Edinburgh in 1833.

Read more: Menzies grows profits as end of era approaches

The group stayed in the distribution business after selling the newsagent chain that bore its name in 1998 and its Early Learning Centre toy shops three years later.

Directors are confident the aviation services market will enjoy sustained expansion as air traffic increases and airlines outsource more work.

They have developed a plan for the business to achieve organic growth supplemented by acquisitions, with the competition watchdog’s decision to launch a probe into the latest purchase seen as a relatively minor inconvenience.

If the plan works, Edinburgh could be a beneficiary of the break up of Menzies.

The head of the aviation business, Forsyth Black, predicted yesterday it would be a net creator of jobs in the city in coming years.

Menzies directors expect the distribution arm to get the investment needed to maximise its potential under its new private equity owners, althought they see better growth prospects in aviation.

The division grew first half profits amid challenges in the core newspaper market.

The rise of internet shopping has created big opportunities for the business, which will remain based in Edinburgh.