College of Law > About > Centers & Institutes > International Aviation Law Institute > Conversations Oral History Project > A Conversation With Michael Levine
A MESSAGE FROM BRIAN HAVEL, DIRECTOR OF THE INTERNATIONAL AVIATION LAW INSTITUTE AT DE PAUL UNIVERSITY COLLEGE OF LAW
This message is based on Professor Havel's introductory and closing remarks at the interview of Professor Levine
I am pleased to welcome you to this website and to the webcast
below. You can access this webcast either by streaming it from the
server or by downloading it to your computer (using the pop-up "save as"
program is the first event in the Institute's "Conversations with
Aviation Leaders" oral history project on the airline industry. We hope
eventually to cover all phases of the industry's history after the
1960s, which is where a prior Columbia University project ended some
years ago, but we are beginning with the events, law, and public policy
issues surrounding the emergence of U.S. deregulation in the 1970s.
We are delighted to have had two distinguished guests as interviewee and interlocutor respectively.
Our interviewee, Michael E. Levine, is without doubt the
intellectual grandee of the birth of US airline deregulation. He is
currently Distinguished Research Scholar at New York University School
Professor Levine has held academic positions at Yale Law School
and Harvard Law School, and was previously Dean of the Yale School of
Management and holder of two chaired professorships at that school.
Prior to Yale he was a chaired professor at the University of Southern
California Law Center where he began his academic career. While at USC
he was also Henry R. Luce Professor of Law and Social Change in the
Technological Society at the California Institute of Technology, and
through those joint appointments he pioneered the interdisciplinary
study of law and economics.
Levine has looked at today's subject from an academic vantage point but
also as an engaged player (an homme engagé, one might say) in both
regulatory and industry roles. At the Civil Aeronautics Board he was
successively a staff attorney in 1965, and later Director of the Bureau
of Pricing and Domestic Aviation and General Director, International and
Domestic Aviation, in the critical years of 1978 and 1979. He then
joined Continental Airlines as its Executive Vice President for
Marketing before becoming, in 1982, President and CEO of New York Air,
one of the three largest low-cost new entrants that followed
deregulation. In the 1990s he held executive-level marketing positions
with Northwest Airlines.
In the interview, incidentally, Professor Levine recalls the
distinctive snacks he introduced on New York Air (such as the "flying
nosh," a fresh bagel with cream cheese brought to the passenger in a
red glossy bag along with the New York Times). Indeed those were
In preparation for this interview we analyzed Professor Levine's
extensive 40-year record of scholarship, beginning with his
groundbreaking article, "Is Regulation Necessary? California Air
Transportation and National Regulatory Policy," published in Volume 74
of the Yale Law Journal in 1965 while he was still a law student. This
article in a sense launched the intellectual argument for deregulation.
The questions posed in the interview broadly reflect the fruits of this
The interlocutor is Dorothy Robyn, Principal of the The Brattle
Group consultancy in Washington DC. The Brattle Group, spearheaded by
Ms. Robyn, authored a much-cited 2002 report on the economic effects of a
US/EU Open Aviation Area.
Ms. Robyn holds a Ph.D and M.P.P. in public policy from Berkeley.
Her doctoral dissertation and subsequent book ("Braking the Special
Interests: Trucking Deregulation and the Politics of Policy Reform")
focused on the process of trucking deregulation which ran almost in
parallel with airline deregulation. Ms. Robyn has herself become a
major intellectual force in extending the ideas of U.S. deregulation to
the global airline industry. She, too, has had a varied and compelling
career background. From 1993 to 2001 she was a senior economic adviser
to President Bill Clinton and in that capacity her brief included
responsibility for coordinating the Administration's policy on aviation.
Prior to joining the Brattle Group in 2002 she was a Guest Scholar at
the Brookings Institution.
The interview was attended by a number of distinguished guests
including Peter Harbison, Executive Chairman of the Center for
Asia-Pacific Aviation in Sydney, Australia, Vincent Power, Partner, A
& L Goodbody, the leading antitrust and competition law practice in
Dublin, Ireland, Aaron Gelman, former director of the Northwestern
University Transportation Center, Matt Andersson, senior aviation
consultant with Charles River Associates International, Karen Bertoli,
Director of Communications, the Nolan Law Group, Chicago, Aaron Broaddus
and Stephen B. Rudolph of CCH Wolters Kluwer (publishers of the CCH
Aviation Law Reporter and CCH Issues in Aviation Law & Policy),
Kenneth P. Quinn, Partner in Pillsbury Winthrop LLP, Washington, DC,
Michael G. Whitaker, Vice President, International and Regulatory
Affairs and International Alliances, United Airlines, and Professor
Robert Gordon, Stanley G. Harris Professor of the Social Sciences at
Working with Ms. Robyn, the Institute hopes that our next
interviewee for "Conversations with Aviation Leaders" will be Alfred
Kahn, the former Chairman of the Civil Aeronautics Board, currently
Professor Emeritus of Economics at Cornell University. One of the
outcomes of this project will be a book to be published to mark the 30th
anniversary of the U.S. airline deregulation statute which will occur