I usually turn on Air Assistant and ignore air. Just grin and bear it when the AI loves to attack airfields and usually come out the loser, but hey, I'm busy.
Now for some reason, with TOAW IV UI and ability to set air ranges, I find myself managing the air myself. I can't quite put my finger on it, but I find this new version entices me to get my hands on it. And its great, setting ranges for bombers to stay in fighter cover, moving fighters forward as lines move and extending my strike range, avoiding air strikes I don't want, setting up strikes I do. Wow, it makes a big difference!
I just considered air a little bit on the window dressing side, long as I have some and enemy has some, they keep each other busy and leave me out of it. Now I'm finding out what a great assist it can be in the game if one just pays attention to it. I'm sure I'll get even better with it after awhile, but its a new dimension of the game for me.