A PIPE-BENDING firm has secured a major deal to maintain the UK's largest airline.

Unison, based in Eastfield, Scarborough, is supplying machinery to British Airways.

The equipment will be used to repair and overhaul hundreds of aircraft, including its new Boeing 787 Dreamliners and Airbus A380 superjumbo long-haul planes.

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Bosses say it will also allow British Airways to carry out precision hydraulic tube work and use laser measuring system to create 3D tube images for machines to make parts quickly.

The company's specialist electric tube-bending technology is already used by Boeing and Airbus for engine and airframe parts.

Alan Pickering, Unison managing director, said the deal represented another significant contract success.

He said: “British Airways wanted to create a seamless production environment for efficient manufacturing of specialist precision parts.

“By giving us the work, they can be confident its tube requirements are fully met.”

Unison, which employs about 50 workers, last year moved into a 2,200sq metre plant, complete with a £300,000 machining centre, to double production and create new jobs.

The company previously supported the development of nuclear-powered US Navy aircraft carriers and attack submarines.

It worked with Newport News Shipbuilding (NNS), in Virginia, with support from US partner, Horn Machine Tools, to supply an all-electric bending machine for eight-inch piping and large-bore piping on the world's most advanced submarine, the Virginia-class.

It has also made tube benders for pipes on NNS' Ford-class aircraft carriers, including the Gerald R Ford.

Mr Pickering added: “Our new facility has allowed us to expand every major department, and we now have more software and hardware development engineers, and more manufacturing and sales staff.

“This puts us in a position to cope with the growth in demand we have been experiencing, as well as our projected expansion into new countries.

“We already have the reputation as the pioneer of all-electric tube bending, and we aim to make this new facility the world centre for advancing this technology.

“With the accuracy and speed of our all-electric technology, we expect to start taking market share from more hydraulic machine competitors.”