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From its inception Imperial Airways LTD had used a number of Handley Page aircraft, (The name of Handley Page being synonomous with very large aircraft) and when Imperial began to open routes to the far-flung outposts of the British Empire the need for a new very large transport aircraft was identified. In due course Handley Page received an order for eight new four-engined air liners, four of which were equipped for European service and four for the far east. The first HP42 was delivered on June 5th 1931, and the last on December 31st, (Western service aircraft costing £23,000 and Eastern service aircraft costing £22,200).