Britain's Imperial Air Routes 1918-1939

Author(s): Robin Higham 

ISBN: 9781781553701
£17.50 £25.00
This book pictures the growth of British air transport from inception in 1910 to the formation of Imperial Airways in 1934 and the beginnings of BOAC.
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  • The definitive work on early British commercial aviation: the result of a life’s research and dedication

  • Written by an expert of British aviation with incredibly detailed and absorbing research

  • Handsomely illustrated with high-quality photographs and plans/maps spanning twenty-one years

Britain’s Imperial Air Routes 1918-1939 pictures the growth of British civil air transport from its inception in 1910 through to the formation of Imperial Airways in 1934 and the beginnings of British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC). Robin Higham shows the impetus given to aircraft production by the First World War, and presents a careful account of the operational and financial fortunes of each of the four principal British airlines, which began operations shortly thereafter.

The fight against official apathy and lack of foresight on the part of the government, the campaign for subsidies and the struggle with foreign competition are interestingly presented. The development of the chosen-instrument concept in Great Britain is interestingly covered and the use of subsidies in this connection justified in order to place civil aviation on a firm financial base for the establishment of a great British airline to serve the Empire.

The result was Imperial Airways, which soon found itself in the awkward position of being expected to be both a successful commercial company and the chosen instrument of imperial policy.

The final emergence of British Overseas Airways was the result, and its organisation marks the close of the period covered in this volume. Included in the book are comprehensive statistical appendices and a complete bibliography.

BOOK ISBN 9781781553701
FORMAT 234 x 156 mm
BINDING Hardback
PAGES 384 pages
PUBLICATION DATE 15 September 2016
ILLUSTRATIONS 74 black-and-white photographs



Robin Higham was professor emeritus at Kansas State University, and a leading aviation and military historian, a prolific writer and editor, and the author of numerous books in his field. Born in London in 1925 to a British father and American mother, Higham moved to the United States in 1940, shortly after the Battle of Dunkirk. He died in 2015 after a short illness.