The Airspeed company was established in February 1931 in York to build the Ferry 3-engined low-performance biplane, designed specifically for short-range pleasure flying ("joy riding"). The prototype Ferry, built to Sir Alan Cobham's specification, went on tour with his National Aviation Day Displays 1932 and 1933; joined by second example 1932. In 1933 two more Ferries (four only built) acquired by John Sword of Midland and Scottish Air Ferries Ltd.
CEO of the original Airspeed was novelist Neville Shute (real name of Neville Shute Norway), and by the end of 1933 Airspeed had built two Tern sailplanes, four Ferry short-range ten-seat airliners and five Couriers.
Airspeed Ltd moved to Portsmouth in 1934 following an adavantageous agreement for new, free premises in that town's airport. The company Airspeed Ltd was established in 1934 at Portsmouth, Hants, in association with shipbuilding interests of Swan, Hunter and Wigham Richardson.
In June 1951, the final merger of Airspeed into de Havilland Enterprise was announced.