IBAC Announces Leo Knaapen in New Role to Lead Industry Partner Program Development

The International Business Aviation Council (IBAC) has appointed industry veteran Leo Knaapen as head of the IBAC Industry Partner Program. Knaapen joined IBAC following his retirement from Bombardier in December 2022, where he was Chief of Industry Affairs.

“It is my pleasure to welcome Leo to the growing IBAC team. He brings to this new role at IBAC a depth of experience as a worldwide industry leader and an important contributor to IBAC and other key industry organizations,” Kurt Edwards, director general, IBAC, said. “Through the Industry Partner Program, Leo will lead efforts to grow IBAC’s capabilities to serve the global business aviation community at the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).  We are excited to have his passion and enthusiasm for business aviation, which will undoubtedly help IBAC expand our advocacy and reach for the industry.”

Leo Knaapen commented, “I am excited to join IBAC and look forward to strengthening the global business aviation industry at the ICAO level whilst encouraging a broader Industry engagement across the business aviation sector. I have witnessed first-hand the important results generated by this modest team of professionals and how its diligence and expertise have quietly benefited aircraft operators, manufacturers, and service providers.”

Leo added: “It’s now time to spread the word and build our partner base, so IBAC can accelerate the good work already underway and address emerging issues.”

Ali Alnaqbi, chairman of the IBAC Governing Board, said, “We are excited to have Leo join IBAC and look forward to working with him to build an interactive global business aviation community and advance IBAC’s work at ICAO.”

During his tenure with Bombardier, Knaapen successfully established a unique function guiding Bombardier’s overall engagement with civil aviation organizations while increasing its global engagement and leadership on key Business Aviation portfolios – notably in air safety and environmental sustainability.

A proven aviation expert and industry leader, Knaapen has been recognized by several organizations for his nearly four decades of service. They include NBAA’s Order of the Silver Scarf; IBAC’s François Chavatte Award; and the Canadian Business Aviation Association for his longtime leadership of CBAA’s Quebec chapter. In 2022, London-based Corporate Jet Investor named him one of the 20 most influential people in sustainable business aviation. 

A non-profit international trade association, IBAC represents business aircraft operators at ICAO, the UN-specialized agency that sets the global rules for international aviation. IBAC promotes safety, advocates for access and appropriate regulation, and advances sustainability efforts. Via its Industry Partner Programme, IBAC encourages the participation and support of business aviation manufacturers, service providers, and operators as Industry Partners and Operator Affiliates.