By Mary Grady, Contributing editor
Nicholas Calio was named this week as the next CEO of the Air Transport Association, the trade organization that represents most U.S. airlines. Calio holds a long Washington pedigree both as a lobbyist and as a White House staffer. "Nick has a record of success in managing complex issues and working collaboratively with people at the highest levels, both in the private and public sectors," said Glenn Tilton, ATA chairman. "His leadership skills and reputation for integrity on both sides of the aisle make him uniquely suited to head ATA." Calio said he will focus on easing taxes and regulations for the industry, improving infrastructure and increasing access to international markets.
Calio, 57, currently works for Citigroup as executive vice president of global government affairs, a position he's held since 2003. Before that, he was assistant to the president for legislative affairs and served as chief liaison to the U.S. Congress for President George W. Bush, the same position he held under President George H.W. Bush. Calio will take over on Jan. 1 from James May, who served as head of the ATA for eight years. The change gives the group a "name-brand Republican known for working well with Democrats," according to Politico. AOPA President Craig Fuller said he has known Calio for many years. "His high integrity and experience combined with his ability will ensure that he makes many important contributions to the policy questions before us," Fuller said. "Most of all, I look forward to working together in the belief that there are far more issues on which we agree than disagree."