By Cameron Rasmusson
Apparently life under new international ownership is treating Quest Aircraft well. Less than six months since its purchase by Japanese company Setouchi Holdings, the company is nearly doubling its production facilities with around 75,000 square feet of additional space.
The construction, which is slated to begin in August, will be completed by the end of the year, meaning the major local employer will soon be able to turn out its signature Kodiak aircraft at a faster rate.
“We are very pleased that the increased worldwide demand for the Kodiak necessitates the need to increase our production capacity,” said Sam Hill, Quest CEO, in a press release. “We have been ramping up production of the Kodiak, and to efficiently meet continued demand for the aircraft, we need to grow our Sandpoint facility.”
According to Quest Aircraft spokesperson Julie Stone, once production ramps up on the Kodiak, that will likely translate to an expansion in workforce as well, which already sits at more than 200 people.
The expansion, a need that the Quest administration has long had in their longterm plans, was no doubt accelerated when Setouchi Holdings purchased the company in February. Setouchi Holdings, itself a subsidiary of parent company Tsuneishi Group, not only offers expanded financial resources but also a greater foothold in international markets.
“The relationship has progressed very well [over the past six months],” Stone said. “Setouchi Holdings is very supportive of us … things are pretty much status quo but just a little bit better.”
Those partnerships are bound to make the Kodiak, an aircraft built to handle rugged terrain, harsh environmental conditions and undeveloped airfields, an even more common international presence. The aircraft already operates in more than 20 countries, where owners use them for business and corporate needs, commuter and on-demand operations, government and humanitarian organizations and personal needs. To meet those varied needs, the Kodiak has received 19 certifications covering 29 countries, with many more on the way.