Probably one of the greatest games you never played. It was too short lived and came too late into the SG market to survive the Kirby killing. But none the less, Aeronautica Imperialis is a GREAT GAME and really REALLY REALLLLLLLLY should be made again. Serious fun, awesome models, fast paced and super tactical. I loved this game.
But that is not the full reason as to WHY. The bigger reason is X-WING. There is obvious demand for a Dogfighting style game, and AE is the GW way to break back into this market. Sure they will never be on par with X-Wing in terms of marketability and market share, but that isn't the goal. The goal is to stem the loss of 40k players to X-wing, or to provide the GW veteran hobbyist that dog fighting outlet. Nearly all the factions are there, so why not get your Tau or Ork on in the sky as well? It also is much more attractive to mechanics purists, as it truly is a 3-d table top game (you have to take altitude into account in all your movement, and certain maneuvers change it).
Given that they were all done in resin and the game was relatively short lived, it is safe to assume that FW still has the moulds and they are not worn out. Either way, they definitely have the masters for all the models still. Ultimately this means very little start up cost. And since it is FW, a niche game, and small models, that means small batch sizes with low lead times are very easy to produce and warehousing costs are virtually non existent. Given that all SG games are slowly coming back, the necessary added production capability is more than likely already being grown (or they have excess from the explosion that is 30k). The point here is that model production should be a relatively low fixed cost, and with FW prices these costs should easily be recovered in a short time period.
Where the true cost of a relaunch could come it is that cost of book printing. But here is the catch. Just don't do it. Simple. Instead of trying to make another great publication that FW is known for, they should just put the rules for free online. All of them. They wouldn't even have to rewrite them. They could just put up PDFs of the old books. The game is still good and still works. No reason to change it. And before you say "But WHY do that?", remember AoS is "Free" rules wise for the most part.
1- Avoid unnecessary and expensive publication and warehousing costs
2- Potential players are not deterred by the added 64GBP startup costs of rule books (each of the original books was 32 GBP)
3- It allows more people to check out the rules and lures them into buying the models, which is where the real money is at.
4- It builds customer loyalty and relations to an even greater extent
5- It can much more easily attract new hobbyists to the world of 40k as a small cost, free rules, great starter game.
6- It competes with X-Wing by not playing their game of GET THE NEW UPDATE. People who like dog fighting but are tired of an ever shifting meta that constantly requires new ships and cards may find the stability of AE to be refreshing. Where FW is more than capable of providing freshness is with their known ability for great mission and campaign design!
I really want this game to resurface. I unfortunately have very little of it, but I refuse to sell what I have. This game needs to make a comeback, or I somehow need to get my hands on much more of it. Let us all hope for the former. Trust me, you will not regret it.