Airco (circa 1958)




British European Airway’s 1957 requirement for a short haul jet airliner was seen by the Government as an opportunity for a concentration of resources which they saw as of great importance to the future of the aerospace industry in the UK. BEA had already settled on the de Havilland 121, but the Ministry doubted that de Havilland had the necessary resources to fund the project as a private venture. For its part, de Havilland did not object in principle to rationalisation and moved quickly to shore up their position, announcing on 30 January 1958 the formation of Airco, with 67½ per cent of the financial risk being borne by de Havilland, 22½ per cent by Hunting Aircraft, 10 per cent by Fairey Aviation. Production facilities were available at Christchurch, Hatfield, Chester and Portsmouth; additional production facilities were available through Hunting Aircraft and Fairey Aviation at Luton and Hayes. However, with increasing Government pressure for further rationalisation, the Airco consortium, which would also have included subcontracting support from Handley Page and Saunders-Roe, failed to materialise and instead de Havilland became part of the the Hawker Siddeley group in 1960, whilst Hunting Aircraft joined the British Aircraft Corporation.

Company References
  1. Offers They Couldn’t Refuse: Mergers in the British Aircraft Industry, 1957-62, Professor Keith Hayward, Head of Research, Royal Aeronautical Society (from http://www.raes.org.uk)

    See de Havilland    

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