by Horst Zoeller, 1996 - 2020, 67th Edition, 22 Nov 2020

Junkers Flugzeugwerke AG

March 1919 at Dessau
by Hugo Junkers
Junkers-Fokker Werke A.G.

Main Business:
Development and Production of Aircraft

Management Positions:

Supervisory Board:
1919 - 1925 Hugo Junkers, chairman of the IFA control board
1925 - 1926 Dr. Schlieben chairman of supervisory board
1926 - 1933 Hugo Junkers, chairman of the IFA control board
???? - 1933 Ulrich Hackbarth, member of the IFA supervisory board
???? - 1933 Otto Seifert, employee member of the IFA supervisory board
1933 - 1937 Heinrich Koppenberg, chairman IFA control board
1933 - 1936 Dr. Willy Bohne, member of the IFA supervisory board
1933 - 1936 Dr. Karl Walter, member of the IFA supervisory board
1934 - 1936 Johannes Mueller, member of the IFA supervisory board

Board of directors:
1919 - 1933 Hugo Junkers, chairman of the IFA board of directors
1919 - 1931 Herrmann Schleissing, financial director of IFA
1919 - 1922 Otto Reuter, technical director and chief engineer of IFA
???? - 1931 Rudolf Mueller, member of the board of IFA directors
1925 - 1926 Dr. Staben, financial supervisor of the German Reich
1929 - ???? Dr. Max Ringwald, member of the IFA board of directors
???? - 1931 Dr. Gottfried Kaumann, member of the board of IFA directors
???? - 1931 Emil Becker, member of the board of IFA directors
1931 - 1933 Klaus Junkers, managing director of IFA
1931 - 1933/36 August Muehlen, financial director of IFA
1933 - 1937 Heinrich Koppenberg, chairman IFA board of directors
1935 - 1936 Prof. Herbert Wagner, deputy chairman of IFA board of directors.
1933 - 1934 Johannes Mueller, member of the IFA board of directors
1934 - 1936 Theodor Scholl, financial member of the IFA board of directors
1934 - 1936 Dr. Otto Mader, technical director of the IFA board of directors
1935 - 1935 Dr. Gottfried Kaumann, member of the board of IFA directors
1936 - 1936 Richard Thiedemann, member of the board of IFA directors
1936 - 1937 Ottfried von Dewitz, member of the board of IFA directors

1919 Cothenschen Strasse, Dessau
1934 Kuehnauer Landstrasse, Dessau
Leipzig-Mockau aircraft repair station
for further facilities see IFM

Company Development:
The Junkers Flugzeugwerke A.G. were formed in March 1919 by absorbing the remains of the Junkers-Fokker-Werke A.G.. Like the previous company, Junkers Flugzeugwerke A.G. used the Forschungsanstalt Prof. Junkers for the research work and had license agreements with them for utilizing the Junkers' patents.

Already in December 1918 Hugo Junkers had advised his research team to design a new all metal passenger airliner, which could built the initial product for a newly formed aircraft manufacturing company. Already in June 1919 the Junkers F13 performed the first flight of an all-metal passenger aircraft and of a civil Junkers aircraft at Dessau. The F13 became the backbone of the Junkers Flugzeugwerke production during the initial years from 1920 to 1923.

Initial Air Transport

But shortly after WW I there was a large surplus of old war aircraft, which were cheap and easily converted for the simple demand of an initial air traffic. Therefore the demand for the new Junkers aircraft was poor. Even Junkers himself had set up an initial air transport within the Junkers Flugzeugwerke with a converted Junkers J10 combat aircraft in March 1919 on the route from Dessau to Weimar. Junkers extended his airline activities in December 1920, when he joint the Lloyd Ostflug GmbH of Sachsenberg and supplied the necessary F13 aircraft for their planned operations. This was the starting point of a large engagement of the Junkers Flugzeugwerke in Germany's and Europe's air traffic. Already in 1921 the air traffic management at Junkers Flugzeugwerke became so dominant, that an own air traffic departement was set up. Dozens of airlines were founded in Europe with the support of Junkers Flugzeugwerke, which supplied their Junkers F13 aircraft as an initial equipment to the airlines. In 1924 the airline engagement of Junkers gained the same size as the aircraft manufacturing. Therefore the air traffic departement of the Junkers Flugzeugwerke were outsourced into an independent company as Junkers Luftverkehrs A.G., which later was absorbed by Lufthansa. But Junkers was not only focused on passenger and cargo services. Already in December 1921 the department of Junkers Luftbild at Junkers Flugzeugwerke A.G. was founded for aerial photography. Together with Merck Chemicals an IFA department Anti-Parasite Spraying Flights was founded in 1925.

International Orientation

Major problems arised, when the Allied forces banned the German aircraft production in May 1921. The German aircraft industry was not allowed to built any aircraft for a period of one year. At Junkers several aircraft were confiscated, which had already been built and were prepared for export, i.e. several F13, which were due for delivery to the Larsen Corporation in America. The Junkers large scale airliner JG1 had to be destroyed and even the smaller K16 prototypes had to be transported and stored outside Germany to prevent them from destroyment. In May 1922 Allies lowered the pressure and the German manufacturers were allowed to built aircraft with reduced operational parameters. Nevertheless, these parameters did not allow Junkers to built his intended large scale passenger airliners like the Junkers G24.

Therefore Junkers Flugzeugwerke was looking for facilities outside Germany. When the German Government asked Junkers, if he would be interested in a joint venture with the Russian Government to setup a Russian aviation plant and to supply Russia with his all metal aircraft design, Hugo Junkers saw a chance to escape from the limitations in Germany. In November 1922 Russia and the Junkers Flugzeugwerke signed a joint venture contract for the developement of a new facility at Fili near Moscow. A set of new military aircraft were specified for that plant, i.e. the Junkers A20, the Junkers H21 and the Junkers Ju22. A further agreement was focused on the setup of a Russian airline, which was established as Junkers Luftverkehr Russland. Fili also supplied Junkers F13 for this airline. However, the Russians were not satisfied with the Junkers aircraft designs and in January 1925 the joint venture was cancelled, leaving Junkers with a large financial minus, which finally caused the first collapse of the Junkers consortium in 1926.

Before the joint venture in Russia was dissolved, Junkers had already established another partnership in Sweden. Together with A. Flormann he founded the A.B. Flygindustri at Limhamn in Sweden on 25th January 1925. At Limhamn Junkers intended to built the large scale aircraft with more powerfull engines than they were allowed in Germany. The underpowered G23 was built with smaller engines in Germany, flown to Sweden and reengined there before the aircraft was sold outside Germany. But already in 1926 the Allies dropped any restrictions upon Germany's aircraft industry and therefore the need of a foreign partner became less important for Junkers. Nevertheless, the partnership between Junkers Flugzeugwerke and A.B. Flygindustri last until the mid thirties before it was finally cancelled by the Swedish Government.

A similar joint venture like the Russian Fili venture was the cooperation between the Turkish Government and Junkers Flugzeugwerke at TOMTAS in Kayseri in Turkey. This joint venture was established in August 1925 for the initial equipment of the Turkish Air Force and the setup of a Turkish aviation industry. At Kayersi mostly a final assembly of Junkers A20/A35 was accomplished. But the Turkish Government was again not satisfied with the cooperation and in May 1928 the TOMTAS was dissolved.

One of the earliest joint ventures was the Junkers-Larsen Corporation of 1920. It was a sales agreement in which Larsen granted the sale of more than 100 Junkers F13 airplanes in North America. A larger number of these aircraft were shipped to the USA and assembled at New York. Due to some severe F13 crashes the U.S. Air Mail refused the use of the F13 in postal service. Therefore a large potential operator in the U.S. was lost and the Junkers-Larsen Corporation was finally dissolved.

The 1925 Junkers Collapse

The losses of the international ventures, but also the bad situation in Germany and a money eating low-bid air traffic fight between Junkers Luftverkehr and Aero Lloyd led to the first financial collapse of the Junkers consortium in 1926. On 3rd October 1925 the Junkers consortium was unable to pay bills. The German Government took over control in the Junkers companies during the same month. They intended to separate the Junkers Luftverkehrs A.G. and to integrate it with the Deutsche Aero Lloyd into the newly formed German flag carrier Luft Hansa in January 1926. But even, when the Junkers Luftverkehr was already broken out, Hugo Junkers had to wait until December 1926 before he regained control upon his own company.

Concentrating on Aircraft Production

During the second half of the twenties the Junkers Flugzeugwerke fully concentrated on the developement of new aircraft types. The Junkers W33/W34 was one of the most successfull ones, which marked several milestones in aviation history like the first North Atlantic crossing from East to West in 1928. The Junkers G38 marked the end of the Junkers' idea of a large scale aircraft, which had been started with the Junkers JG1 in the early twenties. And the Junkers Ju52 was the final aircraft design, which was personally developed by Hugo Junkers himself in the beginning thirties.

Junkers knew about the importance of good trained staff at his aircraft factories. Training concepts were developed therefore and in 1927 the Educational Training Workshops at Dessau were formed, where new staff and trainees were trained for their future business as aircraft and engine mechanics.

In 1927 Junkers Flugzeugwerke A.G. also established several Aircraft Maintenance Centers in Germany. The first one was set up at the new Leipzig-Mockau Airport, other followed at Breslau and Koenigsberg. By establishing these maintenance centers, Junkers Flugzeugwerke provided initial post sale customer support and the necessary link between an aircraft manufacturer and an aircraft operator, which was broken since Junkers Luftverkehrs A.G. was separated from Junkers Flugzeugwerke A.G.

A final Junkers activity in the field of air transport was also started in 1927. As Junkers was not allowed to setup an own airline in Germany following the setup of Lufthansa, a joint venture with the Persian Government led to the foundation of Junkers Luftverkehr Persien. The company was headed by Kurt Weil, who tried to proof, that a self economic air traffic was possible even in the mid twenties. Even if Junkers Luftverkehr Persien operated mostly independed from Junkers Flugzeugwerke, it was not an independent unit but belonged into the Flugzeugwerke A.G. It was dissolved during the 1932 collapse of the Junkers consortium.

The Second and final Collapse

Nevertheless, the annual production rates of the Junkers Flugzeugwerke did not achieve more than 50 to 100 aircraft per year. The high developement costs for the G38 and Ju52 finally caused a second financial collapse in the beginning thirties. First of all Hugo Junkers and the management of Junkers Flugzeugwerke A.G. get into personal discussions regarding the future strategy of IFA in December 1931, which resulted in the cancellation of most management jobs at Junkers Flugzeugwerke A.G. However, in March 1932 the Junkers consortium was unable to pay any bills due to the worldwide economic crisis and due to outstanding demands of Junkers against third companies, which were unable to fullfill the Junkers demands. A second settlement was initiated against the Junkers consortium including Junkers Flugzeugwerke in April 1932 and again Hugo Junkers was forced out of the management of Junkers Flugzeugwerke.

For the protection of a continous production even after a complete collapse of the Junkers consortium a Flugzeugwerk Betriebs GmbH was founded in April 1932, which should took over all Junkers Flugzeugwerk facilities in Dessau. As the Junkers Flugzeugwerke were intensively depending on most of Hugo Junkers' patents, Hugo Junkers was asked to transfer his patents into an independent patent holding company, which was also formed in April 1932 as the Junkers Flugzeug Patent GmbH. Hugo Junkers intended to transfer all of his patent rights into that company, which itself should sign contracts with Junkers Flugzeugwerke for the usage of Junkers' patents. But no transfers into these two companies were finally realized. Discussions with the train manufacturer Henschel as a potential new shareholder of Junkers Flugzeugwerke faild, but in November 1932 Hugo Junkers sold his Junkers + Co company to the Robert Bosch consortium. The money from that sale was returned into the remaining Junkers companies giving them the opportunity to fullfill all external demands. Hugo Junkers returned into the head position of his company, just in time for the first flight of the companies best known Junkers Ju52 in December 1932.

But only three month later another final struggle for the Junkers consortium started, when the Nazi Government took over control in Germany. The liberal democrat Junkers was a strong opponent against the Nazi Government. However, the Nazis quickly realized the potentials of the Junkers technologies and tried to get control upon the Junkers consortium. Already in March 1933 Hugo Junkers was asked to transfer his patent rights onto Junkers Flugzeugwerke. While still trying to organize the Junkers Flugzeug Patent GmbH, Hugo Junkers was ultimately advised by the government to transfer all aircraft patents onto the Flugzeugwerke GmbH on 2nd June 1933. Four month later Hugo Junkers was forced to sell 51% of the Junkers Flugzeugwerke A.G. shares to the Reichsluftfahrtministary on 15th October 1933 and on 24th November 1933 Hugo Junkers was released by the supervisory board of the Junkers Flugzeugwerke from his position of the chairman of the supervisory board. Hugo Junkers himself was arrested in Munich and never returned to his factory.

Germany's Weapon Factory No. 1

On January 1st 1934 Heinrich Koppenberg succeeded Hugo Junkers as the shareman of the supervisory board of the Junkers Flugzeugwerke. During the same year Therese Junkers, who took over the remaining 49% of the Junkers' shares, was also forced to sell the remaining shares to the Reich. Still in 1934 the Reich sold 75% of these shares to an industry consortium formed by Thyssen, Mittelstahl, Krupp and the I.G. Farben. The money was used for massive elaboration of the Junkers facilities at Dessau, which began in 1934.

At the same time a high number of developement requests of the Reichsluftministerium were handed over to Junkers, which led to the developements of the Junkers Ju86, , Junkers Ju88 and Junkers Ju89, which were still started at Junkers Flugzeugwerke in 1934. It was obvious that the small Junkers facilities were not suitable for a large scale production. Hugo Junkers was already planning the setup of a new facility at Dessau north of the airport. Koppenberg quickly picked up these plans in started the setup of the new facility in March 1934. Already in June 1934 the first Ju52 was delivered from the new plant at Kuehnauer Landstrasse. Parallel to the Dessau extension several new facilities, socalled Zweigwerke, were established around Dessau. In November 1934 a new plant was set up at Halberstadt, which started the Ju52 production in March 1935. In May 1935 a new facility was opened at Aschersleben and in March 1935 the Leopoldshall facility started its serial production. Another plant was planned for Schoenebeck and the construction was already on its way, when Junkers Flugzeugwerke was integrated with Junkers Motorenwerke into Junkers Flugzeug- und Motorenwerke A.G. on 5th July 1936.


introduced Aug 1996, transfered Dec 2017
contents last updated 7 Nov 2004