Daher Buying Quest Aircraft

The sale of Quest Aircraft to family-owned Daher is expected to close by the end of the year. Courtesy Quest Aircraft

Daher, the French maker of the TBM family of sleek and speedy single-engine turboprops, said it will purchase Sandpoint, Idaho-based Quest Aircraft, which builds the Kodiak 100 utility turboprop.

The acquisition, Daher says, strengthens two of the company's "strategic pillars" by boosting its market position in the turboprop segment and growing its footprint in North America.

“The Quest Aircraft Company’s acquisition represents an additional step in our development in the United States and an overall strengthening of our aircraft manufacturing business,” said Daher CEO Didier Kayat. “In addition to making Daher the world’s seventh largest aircraft manufacturer in business aviation, it provides us with our first industrial site in the United States, thereby reinforcing Daher’s position as a Tier-1 aerospace equipment and systems manufacturer, as well as a logistics and services provider."

The Kodiak 100 is a 10-seat, non-pressurized high-wing turboprop while the TBM 910 and 940 are luxurious and fast pressurized turboprops that do not generally compete directly for market share. The Kodiak competes most closely with the Cessna Caravan and the TBM with Piper's M600 and Textron Aviation's forthcoming Denali.

Originally created for humanitarian missions in developing countries, the Kodiak 100 is a rugged back--country machine capable of operating on rough and very short runways, Daher noted in pointing out the differences between the products.

“Quest was built on a foundation of values that are common to our two companies, with a focus on excellence and with the commitment to a high-quality, extremely robust product," said Daher chairman Patrick Daher. "As a powerful and maneuverable aircraft – used particularly for humanitarian missions to provide aid to isolated communities – the Kodiak 100 perfectly complements our TBM product range and is fully in line with Daher’s long-term vision as a company committed to the future of aviation.”

The family-owned Daher Group plans to develop "synergies" with the two aircraft product lines by introducing technologies and functionalities for the Kodiak aircraft that have contributed to the successes achieved by the TBM, Daher said.

“The Kodiak 100 is an aviator’s aircraft, just like the members of our TBM family, and we are happy to bring together two communities of passionate pilots and operators with the acquisition of Quest," said Nicolas Chabbert, senior vice president of the Daher Aircraft Business Unit. “We also are particularly pleased to welcome the 240 employees based in Sandpoint, Idaho, to the Daher Group.”

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, nor were possible changes to the management structure or workforce at Quest. Both companies appeared excited for the possibilities that lie ahead.

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

The acquisition’s closing is expected to be completed by the end of the year, subject to approval by regulatory authorities in both countries.


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