aircraft industry defined in 1939 yearaircraft industry - Aircraft Industry;
aircraft industry - Britain's first aeroplane factory was opened 1908 (see Aeroplane). British aircraft manufacturers established before the First Great War and still existing include A. V. Roe, Blackburn, Bristol, Handley Page, Short, Sopwith (now Hawker). On March 29, 1916, the Society of British Aircraft Constructors was founded. Many new firms entered the rapidly growing industry during that war, and some of these continued in it thereafter. The S.B.A.C. now includes in membership every established aircraft and aeroengine manufacturer in Britain, and the majority of the suppliers of aircraft parts, materials, instruments, and accessories.
In May, 1935, when the Air Ministry expansion programme "E" began, the industry employed about 22,000. The government shadow factory scheme was instituted April, 1936. In 1938 employment was about 100,000. On May 14, 1940, the Ministry of Aircraft Production was formed. Persons employed by this supply department in Jan., 1944, numbered 1,821,000. This made aircraft manufacture the leading war industry in the U.K. Annual British aircraft production figures (excluding repaired aircraft and spares) were: 1936, 1,830; 1937, 2,218; 1938, 2,827; 1939, 7,940; 1940, 15,049; 1941, 20,094; 1942, 23,672; 1943, 26,263 (7,129 of these were four-engined heavy bombers). Total for the whole war period, 1939-45: 125,500.
The U.S. aircraft industry in Aug., 1944, employed 1,910,000. From July 1, 1940, to the end of 1944, it produced 246,845 aircraft. Of these, 28,471 were heavy bombers. Figures of output of new aircraft do not, however, form the only basis for comparing production in British and U.S. wartime aircraft industries. The British industry was organized to repair aircraft and to provide spares on a scale never attempted in America. In the last year for which figures were available, 18,000 aircraft were repaired and returned in new condition, while spares production equalled between 50 and 60 p.c. of new aircraft output. The total British effort in that year was equivalent to the production of some 60,000 new aircraft.
Canada's aircraft industry employed 122,765 in 1943. Production of aircraft was in 1940, 846; 1941, 1,697; 1942, 3,811; 1943, 4,133.
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