As early as the mid-1940s, Clan Line had signalled its intent to enter the world of aviation, anticipating the challenge that air transport would pose to shipping companies. The Second World War had seen rapid technological development in aviation which only furthered the appeal of this exciting mode of travel. Even before the war Lord Rotherwick had raised the issue of state monopoly in aviation in the House of Lords, and the difficulties experienced by shipowners seeking to start air services. Shipowners, he argued, could offer worldwide experience and organisation in developing air transport for the benefit of the nation: in reality they faced significant obstacles in branching out in this way.

The Civil Aviation Act of 1946 had split the heavily state-subsidised British Overseas Airways Corporation into three government-backed corporations: British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC), British European Airways (BEA), and British South American Airways (BSAA).  The same Act also prevented any air transport company other than the corporations from running an air service of which scheduled journeys formed a part. This left private airlines with only chartered and individual cargo flights. For companies such as Clan Line, and the emerging private charter airlines, fairer terms were needed in respect of the state corporations.

A campaign by the British Charter Association in 1949 soon led to gradual, but significant, change. Airlines could operate scheduled services so long as they did not compete with the state corporations. Before long, however, they were able to challenge for a small share of their routes. Identifying a need for aviation expertise Clan Line found this in the Hunting Group, which had itself started as a shipping company in 1874 before investing in aviation from the late 1930s.