“The scheduled speed-up of the Tokyo-Dairen line of the Japan Air Transport Co., Ltd., which runs the main airway in Japan, was put into effect at the end of 1935.
“In this speed-up, the hitherto used Fokker Super Universal Monoplane (Bristol Jupiter engine) will be replaced by a new and more powerful machine. Already the Airspeed Envoy (2 Lynx engines) monoplanes are running the Urusan-Dairen line. Flight on Sundays will also be started early [next] year.”
– Flying Magazine, Dec. 1936
The Airspeed As.6 Envoy was a British-built twin-engined low-wing cabin monoplane of all-wood construction apart from fabric covered control surfaces. It had a rearward retracting main undercarriage with a fixed tail-wheel. The Envoy was acclaimed as being superior to the Super Universal in having twin-engined safety, better performance, lower operating costs and easier maintenance.
Two of the Envoy-I aircraft were delivered to Japan in 1935, including one for evaluation by the Japan Air Transport Co. With the acquisition of a license, Japanese production of the Mitsubishi Hinazuru-type passenger transport started in 1937 at the Nagoya Mitsubishi factory, initially powered by Gasuden Jimpu engines, but later using license-built Armstrong Siddeley Lynx or Wolseley Aries Mk.III engines. Eleven aircraft were built at Nagoya before production ceased in 1941.
Japanese-production aircraft were used on domestic route services of Nihon Koku Yuso KK (later to become Greater Japan Airways) mainly on routes from Tokyo to Fukuoka, and Tokyo to Sapporo.
Maximum speed: 152kt (175mph)
Service ceiling: 5020m (16,470ft)
Range: 558nm (642mi)