Setouchi Holdings has acquired Sandpoint, Idaho-based Quest Aircraft, which builds the Kodiak single-engine turboprop airplane.

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Japanese firm Setouchi Holdings has acquired Sandpoint, Idaho-based Quest Aircraft, which builds the Kodiak single-engine turboprop airplane.

Quest, which has 184 employees, will remain in Sandpoint with its current leadership team and use new capital from Setouchi to ramp up production and expand its workforce, the company said.

“We are looking forward to significant growth for Quest in the years ahead,” Quest CEO Sam Hill said.

Setouchi wants to “help us make Quest the leading manufacturer of single-engine turboprops in the world,” he added.

Setouchi Holdings is a member of Tsuneishi Group, a global entity with roots in the shipbuilding, transportation and related industries. A subsidiary company, Setouchi Trading, is an authorized Kodiak dealer.

“Quest has positioned itself to be attractive to outside investors to help us grow the company, and we feel we have the perfect fit with Tsuneishi Group,” Hill said in a news release. “They have extensive experience in manufacturing along with other global capabilities which will benefit us greatly. In addition, their corporate philosophy is similar to ours in how they treat their customers and employees and in how they view their place in the world.”

The versatile, 10-seat Kodiak certified in 17 countries, is used for mission work, tourism, skydiving, corporate trips and government work. Quest turns out 30 of the $2 million planes annually in an assembly plant near Sandpoint’s airport.

Quest’s origins date to 1998, when founders Tom Hamilton and Dave Voetmann saw a need for a modern, backcountry aircraft that could meet the demands of humanitarian aviation. Along with an early group of visionaries, they put the Kodiak on paper and sought funding.

The company was launched in 2001 and began working on a prototype aircraft the following year at the Sandpoint Municipal Airport. The first Kodiak, with its rugged aluminum construction, took flight two years later. Federal Aviation Administration certification followed in 2007.