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French firm acquires Idaho plane maker

The Quest Aircraft Kodiak 100 plane in flight.
Photo courtesy of Quest Aircraft.

SANDPOINT – Quest Aircraft Company, which is based here and builds the Kodiak 100, has been acquired by Daher, a French aircraft manufacturing group.

Terms of the transaction, which is expected to close by the end of the year, were not disclosed by the firms in a June 13 press release.

Daher said the move establishes it as “the world’s seventh largest aircraft manufacturer in business aviation” and provides its first industrial site in the United States. It is already manufacturing the TBM 910 and TBM 940, some of the fastest turboprop aircraft in their categories.

The Kodiak 100 is a 10-seat entry-level aircraft in the single-engine turboprop category. It originally was “created for humanitarian missions in developing countries,” is certified in 67 countries, and is “used worldwide by air-taxi, recreational and leisure operators, along with businesses, pilot-owners and humanitarian organizations,” Daher said, noting that there are 270 Quest airplanes in operation around the world.

Quest Aircraft CEO Robert Wells said the two companies’ combined know-how “opens the potential for rapid growth, with the combined operation becoming a key international player. Our teams share the values for craftsmanship and quality, as underscored by Quest’s motto: ‘Built by hand in Sandpoint, Idaho.’”

The acquisition of Quest, which employs 240 people in Sandpoint, is expected to be completed by the end of 2019, the announcement said. Quest started producing planes in Northern Idaho in 2002. The base price of the Kodiak 100 is $2.1 million.

This isn’t the first change in ownership for the business. Quest was acquired by a subsidiary of large privately held Japanese company Tsuneishi Group in 2015 for an undisclosed amount. One of its subsidiaries, Setouchi Trading Inc., became a Kodiak dealer in summer 2014, which started the relationship between the two companies.

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