The Hastings was rushed into service because of the Berlin Airlift, with No. 47 Squadron replacing its Halifax A Mk 9s with Hastings in September–October 1948, flying its first sortie to Berlin on 11 November 1948. The Hastings fleet was mainly used to carry coal, with two further squadrons, 297 and 53 joining the airlift before its end. A Hastings made the last sortie of the airlift on 6 October 1949, the 32 Hastings deployed delivering 55,000 tons (49,900 tonnes) of supplies for the loss of two aircraft.
One hundred Hastings C.Mk 1 and 41 Hastings C.Mk 2 were built, and they served both on Transport Command's long-range routes and as a tactical transport until well after the arrival of the Bristol Britannia in 1959. An example of the latter use was during the Suez Crisis when Hastings of 70, 99 and 511 Squadrons dropped paratroopers on El Gamil airfield.
Hastings continued to provide transport support to British military operations around the globe through the 1950s and 60s, including dropping supplies to troops opposing Indonesian forces in Malaysia during the Indonesian Confrontation.
The Hastings was retired from Royal Air Force Transport Command in early 1968 when it was replaced by the Lockheed Hercules. The Met Mk.1 weather reconnaissance aircraft were used by No. 202 Squadron RAF at RAF Aldergrove, Northern Ireland from 1950 until the Squadron was disbanded on 31 July 1964, being made obsolete by weather satellites. The Hastings T.Mk 5 remained in service as radar trainers well into the 1970s, even being used for reconnaissance purposes during the Cod War in the winter of 1975—76, finally being retired on 30 June 1977.
Hastings were also operated in New Zealand, where the Royal New Zealand Air Force's 40 Squadron flew the type until replaced by C130 Hercules in 1965. Four Hastings C.Mk 3 transport aircraft were built and supplied to the RNZAF. One crashed at RAAF Base Darwin and caused considerable damage to the city's water main, its railway and the road into the city. The other three were broken up at RNZAF Base Ohakea. During the period that the engines were having problems with their sleeve valves (lubricating oil difficulties) RNZAF personnel joked that the Hastings was the best three-engined aircraft in the world.