Quest announces new layoffs

SANDPOINT — Quest Aircraft Co. announced Monday that 65 full-time employees have been laid off from the local plane manufacturer.

Quest CEO Paul Schaller met with the employees Monday and emphasized they would be eligible to be rehired once the economy picks up.

Quest now has 155 employees — down from 340 last year. A series of layoffs last September, January and April were needed to reflect a slowdown of orders for the $1 million Kodiak plane,  he said.

Quest has now manufactured 42 planes here since 2005, with No. 42 going out the doors to New Guinea on Monday.

The layoffs came from each department, Schaller said.

“The whole airline business is in a very soft spot right now,” Schaller said. “We are trying to get through it by tightening our belts the best we can.”

The Quest facility is currently producing two planes a month and was producing three for a short time before the September layoffs. The facility now has the capacity to produce one plane a week, if the economy would cooperate, he said.

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