In post-war Britain the country's aircraft manufacturers, who in wartime had produced some of Britain's finest military aircraft, turned their attention to the design and manufacture of civilian aircraft for commerical airlines around the world. Towards the end of the war, the Gloster Meteor jet aircraft entered operational service; later the technology was transferred to the civilian market. Propeller-driven aeroplanes, such as the Bristol Britannia and Vickers Viscount, soon gave way to the first jet airliner. The Comet aircraft, manufactured by the de Havilland Aircraft Company, was introduced in May 1952 entering service with the British Overseas Airways Corporation.
Over the next three decades Britain's aircraft manufacturers introduced commercial jet airliners such as the Vickers Standard and Super VC10, and Hawker Siddeley Trident. American manufactuers, learning lessons from the de Havilland Comet aircraft were also producing jet airliners and the Boeing Company's 707 model entered operational service in 1957. It would be companies from the United States that would go on be the dominant aircraft manufacturers with their aircraft in service with airlines around the world. Britain's position as a commercial aircraft manufacturer was in decline and never again would the country produce such variety of aircraft.
After the Second World War Britain aircraft manufacturers were able to develop designs for the civilian aircraft market. The de Havilland Aircraft Company, wartime manufacturer of the Mosquito bomber, would go on to produce the world's first jet airliner, the Comet. Over the following decades the industry was consolidated in a succession of mergers, which would see many famous names disappear.
In the 1940s Britain's aircraft manufacturers were producing short and long-haul aircraft. The Vickers Viscount was the first commerical airliner to be powered by turboprop engines, giving it much better performance compared to pistoned engined aircraft. By the end of the decade the de Havilland Comet entered service, representing the first in a succession of jet-engined commerical airliners.
In post-war Britain the dominant airline was the British Overseas Airways Corporation, flying long haul routes including to North America, and British European Airways, flying domestic and European routes. Over the following decades smaller airlines, such as Monarch Airlines, were established but with competition and consolidation the industry saw many airlines ceasing to exist.
Browse profiles, information and website links for aerospace museums in the United Kingdom housing surviving aircraft from the post-war British commercial airline fleet and Britain's aircraft manufacturers.