College of Law > About > Centers & Institutes > International Aviation Law Institute > Conversations Oral History Project > A Conversation With Gerald L. Baliles
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.
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
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.
Governor Baliles was formerly a partner at Hunton & Williams
in Richmond, Virginia, where he headed, as you would expect, the firm's
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
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.
Mr. Principato is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame, and
earned an MA in International Relations from the University of
Greg, thank you for working with the Institute to prepare today's Conversation.