AN Isle of Wight company is hoping to bounce back strongly from the worldwide slump in the aerospace industry...after it bought another firm in the sector.

IFPL Group, which had to lay off more than 30 employees at the turn of the year due to the Covid-induced downturn, has acquired Cobalt Aerospace Group — an up-and-coming business which has products to complement those offered by IFPL.

IFPL founder Geoff Underwood told the County Press it had been a tough time in the industry but the product set that Cobalt offered gave IFPL a good chance to bounce back.

Most of Cobalt's production will be transferred to the Isle of Wight with the hope IFPL could soon start taking people on again.

Read more: IFPL's autumn warning of job losses

Geoff said: "We are already looking at this and how we can create more space at our Calbourne factory to accommodate the Cobalt production lines."

Cobalt's portfolio includes LED mood lighting, the world’s first-to-fly wireless chargers and new emergency floor path marking system, GLS-7.

Its team currently spans a design and manufacturing facility in Norwich and a USA-based sales office in Miami.

IFPL is known in the aerospace industry for its award-winning in-flight entertainment and connectivity.

Geoff said: "The acquisition should give us the ability to move into different parts of an aircraft cabin.

"We are a niche business but this should help us widen that niche."

He said while not many new aircraft were being ordered, a lot of planes were being retro-fitted so they looked the part when the world started flying again.

"The USA is already up to about 40 per cent of pre-Covid levels, so it is coming back.

"We are currently looking at an in-flight USB-charging device called AdPower which would be attractive to a wide range of airlines."

Cobalt will also bring its specialist certification knowledge and status as a UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) Part 21J Design Organisation.

This means the group will be able to support customers by classifying and approving aircraft changes across areas including avionics, cabin interiors and electrical systems.

Ben Brown, co-founder and director of Cobalt, commented: “We’re excited to take this step forward with our friends at IFPL, who we have long admired for their excellent products and industry prowess."