Bombardier’s Leo Knaapen is the first recipient of the François Chavatte Award. The special recognition honors Knaapen’s persistent advocacy and promotion of the international business aviation industry. As chief of industry affairs at Bombardier, Knaapen has served as a representative to the International Business Aviation Council (IBAC) governing board for industry partners.

IBAC established the award this year to “recognize business aviation leaders who have gone above and beyond to contribute to the industry’s advancement and growth,” said IBAC Director General Kurt Edwards. “And to honor the memory of François Chavatte, a former representative on the IBAC governing board who passed away last year,” he continued. “Chavatte was a pilot on the first transatlantic business aircraft flight to land at Le Bourget Airport in 1961, sparking the growth of one of Europe’s most prominent business aviation airports. Chavatte’s commitment to business aviation extended beyond his day job. He co-founded in 1977 the organization that became known as EBAA and later served as its President and Chairman of the Board. He served also as EBAA’s representative on the IBAC Governing Board.”

It was fitting to have this award go first to Leo, an extraordinary advocate for business aviation, for his tireless work on behalf of the industry. He has been our friend and a strong IBAC supporter for many years. We are grateful to Bombardier, an IBAC industry partner, for supporting Leo’s work with our association as well as with many other associations, committees, and coalitions that work to improve our industry.”

Representing the interests of business aviation worldwide, IBAC is a non-profit, international trade association with official observer status at the International Civil Aviation Organization, the UN Specialized Agency for aviation matters, in Montreal, Canada.