NBAA Welcomes News of IS-BAO Restructuring and New Management Team

The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) welcomes an announcement from the International Business Aviation Council (IBAC) regarding the evolution of the International Standard for Business Aircraft Operations (IS-BAO), the worldwide safety standard for business aviation operations, and the new management team named to support the program.

A task force of IBAC governing board, staff and member executives has just completed a comprehensive assessment of the structure and management processes for IS-BAO. The group worked over the past year to complete the business model review needed to meet the increasing demand for IS-BAO registration.

The IBAC task force endorsed many of the operating principles first established in 2001, but it also recommended changes to the management structure and revenue/cost models to enable the sustained growth and value of the industry standard. The business model study report can be found on the IBAC home page at

IBAC also announced the management team appointed to take the program to the next level:

• James Cannon, a former NBAA Board member, has been named IS-BAO program director, responsible to Director General Donald Spruston for the overall management of the expanding program.

• Sonnie Bates has been appointed IS-BAO operations manager, responsible for education and promotion and for managing a group of specialists who present workshops around the world.

• John Sheehan remains in his position as audit manager, responsible for all aspects of the certificate-of-registration audit quality assurance.

• Paul Lessard remains as IS-BAO administrator, taking on additional responsibilities related to an automated database management system.

“Jim Cannon is a highly respected business aviation veteran who brings a wealth of real-world expertise to the IBAC team, as well as experience in numerous other industry leadership posts, including NBAA’s Board of Directors,” says NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen. “Sonnie Bates has long been recognized for his ability to strengthen an organization’s focus on operations, safety, management and other issues confronting today’s flight operations. Both Jim and Sonnie will be tremendous assets to the IS-BAO program.”

IS-BAO was developed by the business aviation community, including NBAA Members, so that the industry would have one universally accepted global safety standard. Benefits of this industry “code of best practices” include providing a single worldwide audit standard and the promotion of internationally harmonized safety rules. Additionally, IS-BAO-registered operators increasingly receive insurance premium benefits due to the well established safety management system (SMS) built into the standard.

To date, more than 1,400 copies of the code of practice are in circulation, and more than 500 business aviation operators have obtained an official certificate of registration verifying that they have successfully implemented the IS-BAO safety requirements.

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