Unison secures work from BA

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A YORKSHIRE-based manufacturing firm could be on the brink of securing an order from a major global airline.

Unison, which is based in Scarborough, is already working with British Airways to ensure passengers flying on the airline’s fleet of Airbus A380 and Boeing 787 aircraft enjoy a comfortable journey.

Peter Wilkinson, an executive director at Unison, believes other orders from major players in the aviation sector will follow.

British Airways has placed an order with Unison, based in Scarborough, for its tube bending machinery to produce replacement rigid hydraulic tubes for its new aircraft.

Both the A380 and the 787 Dreamliner have advanced hydraulic systems that operate under much higher pressure than other commercial aircraft. To accommodate the greater pressure, the new Unison equipment will manufacture the hydraulic pipework from specialist aerospace materials, such as titanium alloy, using thick tube walls.

Mr Wilkinson said he couldn’t quote the value of the deal, but it was the same system that Unison had installed at Boeing in the US. Mr Wilkinson said that Unison could be on the brink of securing a similar deal with another major international airline.

Mr Wilkinson said he hoped that Unison would have the opportunity to maintain and install the same systems on every major airline with the same aircraft fleet.

British Airways has invested in 12 new A380s and 24 Boeing 787s, as part of a £5bn investment to make life more comfortable for customers in the air and on the ground. Customers travelling on the new aircraft will enjoy quieter cabins, more storage space and the airline’s comfortable seats.

The tube bending machinery will be installed at the airline’s engineering maintenance base at Heathrow Airport where the aircraft will be maintained.

Unison’s all-electric tube bending technology is used by a number of leading aerospace manufacturers including Airbus and Boeing, to produce parts for engines and airframes.

The machinery can produce precision tubework to exactly replicate worn or damaged parts quickly and efficiently. Unison will also be working with British Airways to integrate the process into the airline’s engineering operation.

British Airways’ engineering general manager, James Murray-Smith, said: “Our investment in new aircraft demands the very best maintenance care and equipment available.

Alan Pickering, the managing director of Unison, said: “By assigning responsibility for the performance of the entire installation to Unison, British Airways can be confident that its tube fabrication requirements are fully met from the outset.”