The Board of Directors of DronePort nv has appointed a new Managing Director. Ward Decaluwe (56) is an aviation expert with a long career within Brussels Airport Company, Sabena and Brussels Airlines. He takes over the helm at DronePort, which aims to further grow into a benchmark in the European drone and aviation innovation industry.

Droneport, which opened its doors in December 2018, is located at the former military airbase in Brustem (Sint-Truiden). At this location, start-ups, growing companies and knowledge centers are working together to create an innovative future for the aerospace industry.

In a short time, the DronePort site has developed into the driving force of the drone industry in Flanders. In December 2018, DronePort launched the construction of its campus building, which houses f.e. an incubator for drone startups. A large multi-purpose hangar was completed not much later in 2020. Droneport’s current shareholders are the Limburg Investment Company (LRM), city of Sint-Truiden and JK Invest.

Ward Decaluwe will assume the role of General Manager, CEO, from August 2023. He will be responsible for the continued strategic development of DronePort as well as the operations of the regional airport and associated campus.

Mr. Ward Decaluwe has a long track record within the aviation sector: he started at Brussels Airport Company in 1994 and then spent 4 years at Sabena. From 2002 on, he worked at (SN) Brussels Airlines where he was responsible for ‘Product Development & Customer Experience’.

After that he was a member of the executive committee of Brussels Airport Company for over 8 years, responsible for ‘Operations’ and ‘Passenger Experience’ among others. In recent years, he has focused as a consultant on innovation and strategic partnerships in the airline industry.

European reference
The appointment of a new CEO is the second major announcement within DronePort this year. Earlier, it became known that Brussels Airport Company (BAC) will take a significant stake in DronePort.

Mr. Tom Vanham, General Manager of LRM and President of DronePort: “Mr. Decaluwe is a top professional and aviation expert who understands very well the potential of a project like DronePort. He is committed to exploiting his broad expertise and relevant network to achieve DronePort’s ambitions. I am convinced that together with the team, partners and stakeholders DronePort can further develop to become a benchmark in the European drone and innovative aviation industry.”

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