The DH.16 was a re-designed Airco DH.9A with a wider fuselage, accommodating an enclosed cabin seating four passengers, plus pilot in an open cockpit. In March 1919, the prototype first flew at Hendon Aerodrome. Nine aircraft were built, all but one being delivered to Aircraft Transport & Travel Limited (AT&T). AT&T used the first aircraft for pleasure flying, then on 25 August 1919 it inaugurated a London to Paris service. One aircraft was sold to the River Plate Aviation Company in Argentina, to operate a cross-river service between Buenos Aires and Montevideo.
AT&T operated the London (Hounslow Heath Aerodrome) to Paris service, plus a Croydon Airport to Amsterdam service on behalf of KLM. On 17 May 1920, an AT&T DH.16 (G-EALU) flew the first KLM service between London and Amsterdam. In December 1920, AT&T closed down, and the surviving seven aircraft were stored. Two were later used for newspaper delivery flights, and the other five were scrapped. On 10 January 1923, one of the two newspaper delivery aircraft suffered a fatal crash, and DH.16s were withdrawn and scrapped.