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PARIS: Daher buoyant after Quest acqusition

Patrick Daher, chairman of French aircraft manufacturing, aerostructures and logistics group Daher, is bullish about the company's prospects with newly acquired US airframer Quest Aircraft as part of its portfolio.

The purchase of the Kodiak 100 builder in early June not only introduces a third single-engined turboprop to the Daher family – which consists of the venerable TBM 910 and 940 – but broadens its international footprint and manufacturing capability. The sale is expected to be completed before year-end.

"The Kodiak has found success in many of the markets that we would like to enter with the TBM, such as Africa and Australasia,” says Daher.

"Around 75% of our TBM sales are in the USA, with the remainder largely from Europe," he adds. "So this is a great opportunity to open up the world to our product line."

Daher says the Kodiak is an ideal fit for the Daher line-up, sharing variants of the Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A engine, as well as the Garmin G1000NXi flightdeck, in the TBM 910. The flagship 940 features the G3000. Nearly 1,000 TBM-series aircraft have been delivered since the first example – a TBM 700 – entered service in 1990, says Daher.

"The Kodiak is a rugged, short-take-off and landing workhorse that can be used for a multitude of missions from owner-flyer to passenger and cargo transport; while the high-speed TBM is mainly sold for passenger transport in a corporate, commercial, and owner-flyer capacity," says Daher. "It's a van versus a Porsche.”

"The Kodiak becomes our entry-level offering, and then customers can move up through the TBM range," he adds.

Daher describes Sandpoint, Idaho-based Quest as a "perfect fit" for the family-owned company because of its "strong culture, values and outlook". It was founded in the late 1990s to create an aircraft for humanitarian missions in developing countries. Although it was sold in 2015 to Japan's Setouchi Holdings, the core values remain, he adds, with many of the employees that were with the company at the start still in post. "Quest was looking for a big brother to help them expand, so it is an ideal match," says Daher.

The Quest acquisition also gives Daher a manufacturing footprint in the USA, and an opportunity to expand its aerostructures and logistics services business. The company builds parts for a host of aircraft manufacturers, including Airbus, Boeing, Dassault, Embraer and Gulfstream, with the work spread around facilities in France, including its headquarters in Tarbes, and in Nogales and Queretaro, Mexico. Daher hopes the new US facility will attract more business from North American airframers and he says the company will expand the Sandpoint footprint to accommodate the extra contracts.

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