Quest Aircraft is gearing up to deliver the first two Kodiak single-engined turboprops equipped with the new VIP Timberline interior.
The handover, to an undisclosed customer later in February, forms part of a concerted effort by the Sandpoint, Idaho-based airframer to grow its corporate and VIP customer base for the 10-seat, utility aircraft, which is approaching its 100th delivery milestone.
"The Kodiak is a very rugged, versatile and niche product," says Quest chief executive Sam Hill. "The aircraft entered service in 2007 and our main markets so far have been government, humanitarian, cargo, and charter operators.
"We are confident that it will find a niche as a small corporate and VIP aircraft as there are plenty of individuals and company executives who need to access remote regions of the world.
"The Timberline interior with its restyled leather seats and other cabin refinements will allow them to get there in more comfort."
In an attempt to beef-up global sales of the high-wing Kodiak, Quest is expanding its dealership network in key geographical regions, including South and Central America, Africa and Asia.
Hill says he hopes to clinch certification from China in the second quarter of 2013 and then Quest "can begin deliveries of the first of 12 aircraft to our dealer Blue Eagle Aviation Investment Management".
Quest will deliver four aircraft to the Beijing-based company in 2013, and the remaining aircraft during the following two years. "There is huge potential for the Kodiak across Asia," Hill adds. "We are in discussion with two other customers there for the sale of a number of aircraft."
Quest is producing two Kodiaks a month but plans to ramp up to three aircraft from July to cater for the expected growth in sales, says Hill.