College of Law > About > Centers & Institutes > International Aviation Law Institute > Conversations Oral History Project > A Conversation With John R. Byerly

A Conversation With John R. Byerly



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

I am pleased to welcome you to this website and to the webcast below:

John R. Byerly - Interview (part 1 of 3)

This program is the fourth 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 and liberalization with academics, government officials, political figures, and industry leaders who played a significant role in this extraordinary public policy experiment.

Our format today will be three one-hour sessions covering the emergence and implementation of an ambitious U.S. effort to extend at least some of the features of domestic airline deregulation to the international arena through a policy known as "Open Skies" and the conversation will cover the period from the invention of the policy in the early 1990s onward through the most recent U.S. aviation agreements, focusing especially on the landmark 2007 U.S./EU Air Transport Agreement.

We hope as well to cover some of the remaining challenges and controversies surrounding international air transport liberalization, including issues related to foreign ownership and control of airlines; antitrust immunity for international airline alliances; and liberalizing U.S. aeropolitical relations with major trading partners such as a China, Brazil, Mexico, and Russia. However, viewers should take note that these three hours are indeed a conversation; despite my attempt here to set the parameters, we have placed no prior restraints on the topics to be covered. It is really up to our distinguished interlocutor and guest as to how this conversation will unfold.

John R. Byerly - Interview (part 2 of 3)

Our guest, John R. Byerly, who is scholar-in-residence this week at the International Aviation Law Institute, has been the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Transportation Affairs since 2001. In fact, he has had the longest tenure of any occupant of that position. In this role, he has been the lead U.S. negotiator for such historic air transport agreements as the aforementioned 2007 U.S./EU Agreement and, just recently, the 2009 U.S./Japan Open Skies Agreement.

A career member of the Senior Executive Service at the State Department, John has also held positions covering a range of duties in American foreign policy, national security, and international economic relations.

His academic credentials are no less impressive. Prior to receiving his J.D. from the Yale Law School in 1979, John graduated with highest honors from the University of North Carolina and studied German and European law on a Fulbright Scholarship at the Free University of Berlin.

John is also a brilliant speaker and colorful wordsmith, as I can well attest to from years of sitting with him on aviation conference panels, high-level working groups, and in symposia. And while John disclaims the label of an academic, just yesterday he did an outstanding job as our Scholar in Residence when he taught the College of Law's International Aviation Law course. I hope that John will have the opportunity to share on camera some of the compelling insights he offered our students yesterday.

John R. Byerly - Interview (part 3 of 3)

​​John's interlocutor is Kenneth ("Ken") P. Quinn, one of DePaul University College of Law's most distinguished and accomplished alumni. Ken is currently a partner and co-leader of the Pillsbury law firm's top-ranked aviation practice in Washington, D.C. Prior to joining Pillsbury, Ken was Chief Counsel of the Federal Aviation Administration from 1991 to 1993 and served as counselor to Secretary of Transportation Samuel Skinner – also a distinguished graduate of DePaul College of law – from 1989 to 1991.

In his current practice, Ken has successfully litigated a number of important aviation cases, including most recently arguing on behalf of Virgin America in Association of Flight Attendants v. Department of Transportation in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, which upheld the Department's certification of the airline over objections to its ownership profile.

Ken also has a public profile as a national leader in U.S. aviation law and policy. He is editor-in-chief of Air & Space Lawyer, the legal journal of the ABA Forum on Air & Space Law, and, as a member of its Governing Committee, was instrumental in bringing the Forum's prestigious Annual Conference to Chicago in 2009. Ken has been a member of the International Aviation Law Institute's Advisory Board since the Institute's founding in 2005 and is a regular speaker at leading aviation conferences and symposia around the world.

We are very proud at the College of Law to be Ken's Chicago alma mater and we are absolutely delighted that he accepted our invitation to be here today to serve as John Byerly's "ferocious" interlocutor.​