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A Conversation With Gerald L. Baliles

Professor Brian Havel's Opening Remarks

This message is based on Professor Havel's introductory and closing remarks at the interview of Governor Baliles.

I am pleased to welcome you to this website and to the webcast below. This is the fifth event in the Institute's oral history series, "Conversations with Aviation Leaders" in which we explore the origins, history, and record of U.S. airline deregulation both domestic and international with academics, officials, political figures, and industry leaders who have played a significant role in this extraordinary public policy experiment and in its aftermath.

Our format today, as in the past, will be three one-hour sessions constructed around the career experiences of our guest, and today we are delighted to have with us the former Governor of Virginia and the Chairman of President Bill Clinton's National Commission to Ensure a Strong Competitive Airline Industry, the Honorable Gerald L. Baliles.

Part 1 of the interview will focus on the Commission and domestic reforms, Part 2 will look at regulation and reregulation, and Part 3 will consider international deregulation under the banner of Open Skies at least that's how we planned the interview in theory, it's really up to our distinguished interlocutor and Governor Baliles as to how today's conversation will unfold.

Interview - Gerald L. Baliles (Part 1 of 3)

Our interlocutor is Greg Principato, who was Executive Director of the National Commission to Ensure a Strong Competitive Airline Industry and who is now President of Airports Council International-North America.

Let me just take a few minutes to introduce Governor Baliles and Mr. Principato in a little more detail.

President Clinton tapped Jerry Baliles for the leadership of the National Commission because he had served as 65th Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia from 1986 to 1990 and was Virginia's advocate-in-chief for improved trade relationships, not just in aviation, leading in his tenure to a situation where exported products accounted for over 25% of the state's economic growth – three times as much as the U.S. as a whole. I owe a special debt to Governor Baliles and the Report of the National Commission to Ensure a Strong Competitive Airline Industry. The Report, and its massive documentary database, became the basis for my first book on international aviation liberalization published 15 years ago. Indeed, I am clutching here my beloved, well-thumbed copy of the actual 1993 Report – which was published in an interesting size for a government report – this is a shade smaller than the tabloid format, used for a lot of newspapers but I've never seen it used for an official government publication. Perhaps the Governor will explain that decision!

Despite what looks like a very fancy publication, by the way, one-third of the Commission's budget was returned to the U.S. treasury and I should also say that the Report was delivered two days before the expiration of its very compressed 90-day statutory deadline.

Eighteen years later, Governor Baliles today is Director and CEO of the Miller Center of Public Affairs based at the University of Virginia, a nonpartisan institute that seeks to expand understanding of the presidency, policy, and political history, providing critical insights for the nation's governance challenges and promoting bipartisan discourse and consensus to the extent that such a Sisyphean task is still possible in the current environment.

The Miller Center and Governor Baliles, are also celebrated for bridging the gap between academics and government, an effort that we at the International Aviation Law Institute are seeking to emulate with events of this kind. And the Miller Center under Governor Baliles is well-versed in the kind of oral history we are doing today, conducting projects on the Carter, Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Clinton, and George W. Bush presidencies,

Interview - Gerald L. Baliles (Part 2 of 3)

​​I also recommend to you the proceedings of the Miller Center's September 2009 National Transportation Policy Conference, published under the title "Well Within Reach: America's New Transportation Agenda." Governor Baliles convened the Conference to examine how best to use the powers of the federal and state governments to tackle, inter alia, "crowded airports, crowded airplanes, screeching airplanes and archaic equipment."

Governor Baliles was formerly a partner at Hunton & Williams in Richmond, Virginia, where he headed, as you would expect, the firm's international team.

He has a J.D. from the University of Virginia, and holds 11 honorary degrees from colleges and universities across the nation.

Governor Baliles' tenure as Governor of Virginia is looked upon now as a golden era for the State – I quote from the Richmond Times Dispatch of July 4, 1999 – please feel free to Google it! And his State continues to look fondly upon its former Governor – in 2009 he was named Virginian of the Year by the Virginia Press Association for the "great leadership he has given to the State for each role he has been in." And recently the Virginia Bar Association changed the name of its prestigious Distinguished Service Award to the Gerald L. Baliles Distinguished Service Award.

And a final note of interest for our Institute – Governor Baliles is the co-founder of our journal, Issues in Aviation Law and Policy (IALP), which has just celebrated its tenth anniversary. The other co-founder, Stephen B. Rudolph, now serves as the Managing Editor of IALP and as the Institute's Executive Director.

Congratulations on your many achievements, Governor, and on your unyielding commitment to public service, and welcome to Chicago and to DePaul.

Our interlocutor today, as I mentioned, is Greg Principato, who since 2005 has been President of Airports Council International-North America, the largest of the five worldwide regions of Airports Council International and the leading association of airports and airport-related businesses in North America.

Mr. Principato was previously Executive Director of the National Commission to Ensure a Strong Competitive Airline Industry, and has a 25-year public policy career in aviation and transportation infrastructure that included working on these issues for U.S. Senators J. Bennett Johnson and Joseph R. Biden, and then for the Baliles Administration where he collaborated with Congress on the transfer of Reagan National and Washington Dulles airports from federal control to the control of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority. Accordingly, it is fair to say that he is not meeting Governor Baliles for the first time today.

Interview - Gerald L. Baliles (Part 3 of 3)

​​​Mr. Principato is now one of the most prominent policy leaders in the U.S. air transport industry and beyond U.S. borders, and there is a very long list of aviation issues that he has stewarded in his various professional incarnations, including the convening of the Coalition for a Global Standard on Aviation Noise. We are delighted to welcome him for the first time in person to the Institute, even though he has been very supportive to us over the years as a member of our Advisory Board.

Mr. Principato is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame, and earned an MA in International Relations from the University of Chicago.

Greg, thank you for working with the Institute to prepare today's Conversation.​