Layoffs At Quest Aircraft, Despite Recent Sales

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Quest Aircraft had an exciting time last week at EAA AirVenture, announcing the delivery of nine of its Kodiak turboprops on floats to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, but this week the company laid off 65 workers at its factory in Sandpoint, Idaho. The workers were not only in manufacturing but also in support and administration. A series of cutbacks has left the company with about 155 employees, down from 340 a year ago. Quest was making about three airplanes a month until last fall, but since then has cut back to two per month, according to The Spokesman-Review. "The whole aviation business is in a very soft spot right now," Quest CEO Paul Schaller said in a staff meeting on Monday, the Bonner County Daily Bee reported. "We are trying to get through it by tightening our belts the best we can."

Schaller told the laid-off workers they would be eligible to be rehired once the economy picks up. The company announced the availability of floats for the Kodiak in June, and last month made a new icing-protection system available and an optional external cargo compartment. Earlier this year, the Kodiak's maximum takeoff weight was increased to 7,255 pounds. The company was established in 2001.