Arguing about Imperial Airways
in Air empire
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Postponed, slow and erratic Empire service tainted Imperial Airways. Tasteless, unpatriotic, or economically irrational, discounting the value of Imperial Airways to Britain and the Empire by the size of financial subsidy was not the only option open to critics. Despite its position at the top of the export table, Britain's aircraft industry was hamstrung by a small order book. Although the monopoly Imperial was established partly to aid the post-war industry, its orders for aircraft were small in volume and narrowly directed at three firms. The inter-war period was 'truly miserable' for the British civil aircraft industry'. Sir Eric Geddes illuminated the economics of Imperial services in his presentation to the Marshall Society at Cambridge in February 1931. The start of experimental airmail services to Africa and Australia in 1931, and their regularisation in the following year, set some criticism to rest, at least once teething troubles had passed.

Air empire

British imperial civil aviation, 1919–39

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