Transportation Experts Blog


Nicholas Calio

Biography provided by participant

Nicholas E. Calio is president and chief executive officer of the Air Transport Association (ATA), the nation's oldest and largest airline trade association. Mr. Calio became the association's chief executive in January 2011. Prior to joining ATA, Mr. Calio was Citigroup's executive vice president for global government affairs. He was responsible for the company's government affairs globally, including U.S. federal government relations, U.S. state government relations and international government relations. He was also a member of Citigroup's Senior Leadership Committee. Before joining Citigroup, Mr. Calio served President George W. Bush as assistant to the president for legislative affairs from January 2001 to January 2003. As the president's principal liaison to Congress, Mr. Calio worked closely with the leadership and members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, and had the primary responsibility for formulating and implementing White House strategy on all legislative issues. He held the same position during the administration of President George H.W. Bush. The New York Times once described him as a "forceful broker...not only between the White House and Congress, but also among Cabinet officials...: later "credit[ed] him with a major role in the biggest White House legislative victories on Capitol Hill, among them the resolution authorizing use of force against Iraq, the creation of the Homeland Security Department, an education bill and a major tax cut." Congressional Quarterly reported that "lawmakers of both parties also say Calio's forceful approach ...helped Bush put together a string of triumphs on Capitol Hill," while Roll Call stated that "...he has a reputation as a prodigious lobbyist and one of Capitol Hill's best vote counters." Prior to joining the Bush administration, Mr. Calio was a partner at O'Brien*Calio, a law and lobbying firm he co-founded in 1993. A 1998 Fortune magazine survey of Members of Congress, congressional staff, administration staff, and Washington lobbyists rated the firm as one of "the ten most powerful" in Washington. Mr. Calio started the firm after leaving the first Bush administration. Mr. Calio has had substantial experience serving business interests in legislative and legal matters throughout his career. He also has been vice president of The Duberstein Group, Inc., a legislative consulting firm and senior vice president of the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors, a major business trade association. Prior to that, he practiced law with the firm of Santarelli and Gimer. Mr. Calio is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and Case Western Reserve University School of Law. He has been active in the last eight presidential campaigns. He serves on the board of directors of Bryce Harlow Foundation and the First Tee of Washington, D.C.

Recent Responses

May 1, 2013 12:08 PM

The quick resolution of the sequester’s effects on air travel serves as an illustration of how integral a fully operating airspace is to our nation’s economy. Passengers and shippers spoke up in support of the "Don’t Ground America" campaign to stop unnecessary delays resulting from air traffic controller furloughs. This effort demonstrated to the White House, Congress, DOT and FAA that delaying flights harmed passengers, shippers, jobs and the economy. The outcry was loud and clear and Congress acted swiftly and accordingly to end the furloughs and delays. Even with a fully staffed air traffic control workforce, many inefficient and costly government actions continue to negatively impact the airline industry, its customers and employees. What sequester has demonstrated very clearly is the American people need and expect a safe and efficient aviation system and for the federal government to make it a top priority. Airlines for America is advocating for a National Airline Policy that supports common sense changes to address the high taxes, excessive regulation and antiqua

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March 19, 2013 06:39 PM

The American people and our economy depend on a vibrant, efficient aviation system. They pay for it, too. In 2012 alone, airlines and passengers collectively paid nearly $19 billion in taxes and fees to the Federal government, including $12.3 billion to the Federal Aviation Administration, $2.3 billion to the Transportation Security Agency, and $360 million to Customs and Border Protection. These funds are meant to maintain the efficiency and safety of the aviation system, a driver of jobs and economic growth. Rather than working to ensure they go toward their intended purpose, officials seem to be using the current budget maelstrom as the poster child for sequestration, ensuring that the 2 million people and 50,000 tons of cargo that fly every day are impacted by projected delays caused by arbitrary cuts to the CBP, TSA and FAA budgets. We understand cuts are required. We also believe it is critical that CBP, TSA and FAA realize cost savings from non-personnel spending such as contractors, travel and supplies, as many other agencies have done. This will ensure that the operation

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February 26, 2013 03:16 PM

Our country’s air travel system is at the forefront of the potential budget sequester. Since Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood stated that if the FAA has to implement $600 million in budget cuts, the cuts it chooses to make will impact air travel by “lengthy delays and cancellations.” U.S. airlines safely and efficiently transport 2 million people and nearly 50,000 tons of cargo every day. It is these very passengers and shippers who provide a full two-thirds -- more than $12 billion -- of the FAA’s budget through the taxes and fees they pay. And yet, the FAA is proposing to bite--or more correctly, delay and inconvenience--the hand that feeds it. In fact, passengers and shippers have continued to pay more into government coffers, even as air travel has declined. From Fiscal Year 2001 to Fiscal Year 2012, commercial aviation operations fell 15 percent but FAA revenue from commercial aviation rose a whopping 37 percent. Air travel is too important a driver to our economy and jobs to be treated like a political football. We urge Congress and the Administration to work

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January 9, 2013 06:02 PM

On behalf of Airlines for America, I applaud the U.S. Senate for confirming Michael Huerta to head the Federal Aviation Administration. The Senate made the right choice given Mr. Huerta’s proven leadership in the public and private sectors, commitment to making the safest aviation system in the world even safer and smarter, and focus on positioning the FAA to deliver NextGen. A4A congratulates Mr. Huerta on his swearing in as the 17th administrator of the FAA. As administrator, Mr. Huerta’s challenge will be to focus on delivering the benefits of NextGen to passengers, businesses, and operators now. One of the recommendations of Secretary LaHood’s Future of Aviation Advisory Committee (FAAC) and a requirement of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 was for the agency to accelerate the deployment of the most cost-beneficial elements of NextGen, including performance-based navigation (PBN) procedures, at the nation’s largest airports. As evidenced by the FAA’s recent Greener Skies initiative at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, PBN procedures can deliver imme

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November 5, 2012 10:10 AM

The Brookings Report smartly highlights a glaring problem with airport infrastructure funding – it typically does not go where it can serve the most passengers. More than half of Airport Improvement Program (AIP) funds go to airports with little or no commercial service. In fact, they handle just 3 percent of passenger enplanements versus the 97 percent handled by large, medium and small hub airports. That math does not add up. In light of this misallocation, it also doesn’t make sense to argue that the solution is to raise taxes. Increasing the Passenger Facility Charge (PFC) tax is not the answer to this inequity. More taxes without reform would simply result in higher ticket prices for airline passengers who are already overburdened with taxes that can total more than 20 percent of a ticket price. The problem is not a lack of resources. As taxes have risen, airport revenues have skyrocketed by 50 percent since 2000, with near record-level revenues of $22 billion in 2011 (including PFC, AIP funds, airline rents/fees, interest and non-airlines rents and fees). Airports

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October 3, 2012 12:17 PM

As outlined above, airlines are leading the way in establishing the public-private partnerships (PPPs) critical to protecting our environment and at the same time, encouraging economic growth and competition. The two objectives can and should go hand in hand. Airlines for America (A4A) and its member companies work regularly with government agencies, from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to the Department of Defense (DOD), to form partnerships that leverage technological advances and increase environmental efficiency. The Boeing-American Airlines-FAA partnership behind the ecoDemonstrator plane is just the latest example. The Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuel Initiative® (CAAFI), jointly founded by A4A, FAA, the airports and aircraft and engine manufacturers back in 2006, has paved the way for revisions to the jet fuel specification and helped overcome other hurdles to the development and deployment of sustainable alternative aviation fuels. Other initiatives have pushed other important levers. For example, earlier this year, A4A joined the U.S. Department of Agricul

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September 12, 2012 06:44 PM

You are correct when you note there was no mention of transportation at the conventions. It’s pretty short shrift that policy makers aren’t paying attention to the easiest way to create jobs and improve infrastructure. It is also ironic given that nearly every attendee of both the Republican and Democratic conventions shared a single commonality – they arrived at their destination on an airline. And nearly every industry represented at each gathering relies on the airline industry in some capacity to serve its constituents or create opportunities for their own sectors. Yet the necessity of a healthy, vibrant airline industry was not discussed by either major candidate or included in either party’s platform. That is a problem because nobody wants to do the hard work. The good news is that there are some members of Congress that are looking to change that.

The airlines are enablers of commerce, connecting businesses and communities of all sizes and types with each other and a rapidly expanding global marketplace. They are doing so with record s

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