'Imperial Airways - The Greatest Air Service in the World', poster, 1930s.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Poster showing four pasenger aeroplanes (Handley Page Heracles/Hannibal, Short Scylla, Armstrong-Whitworth Atalanta and Short Scipio) with cutaway sections, showing their interior seating arrangements. Imperial Airways Limited was formed by the British government on 31 March 1924, after a government report recommended that Britain's interests in commercial air transport would be best served by merging the larger existing aircraft companies. The government's primary motivation for the merger was the need to carry mail throughout the empire. The four companies concerned were Handley Page Transport, the Instone Airline, Daimler Airway and British Marine Air Navigation, all four of which had struggled to operate at a profit.