SANDPOINT - Quest Aircraft Co. announced on Thursday that 55 of its 275 employees have been laid off due to slow market conditions.
This is the second round of layoffs at the airplane manufacturer this year. In January, 22 positions were eliminated.
Quest CEO Paul Schaller said the slowing economy continues to cause gaps in production and the decision has been made to limit production to two Kodiak planes a month. The manufacturer had been building three of the $1.5 million planes a month.
It is Schaller's hope to be up to full production again in August. Prior to that he said he hopes to hire back some of the furloughed employees.
"We have only had one plane order cancelled," he said. "The rest have asked their planes to be moved into the future."
The biggest problem facing the company is that many of the planes under production now were ordered back in 2006-2007. As the planes got closer to reality, clients who ordered the $1 million planes started to ask if they could moved further down the waiting list.
Because these planes need to be financed, lenders and potential buyers are having a hard time coming together for this substantial purchase, he said.
"The airplane business lags behind other economic indicators," Schaller said. "It looks like the economy is on the way up so we hope to be joining that trend soon."