The Air Transport Association (ATA), the industry trade group for U.S. airlines, announced a reorganization plan targeted at building advocacy and lobbying capabilities and ensuring thought leadership on legislative and policy matters.
ATA president and CEO Nicholas E. Calio, who was tapped to head the association last month, said the changes reflect a shift toward "leveraging the association’s strong operations and technical expertise with a significant increase in outreach to key stakeholders to advance policy and legislative issues."
"As an association, we have strong technical and operational expertise that we will better leverage in our advocacy efforts with Congress, the Administration and other key stakeholders," Calio said. "The airline industry drives the economy and creates jobs, and with these changes, we are building the foundation that will enable the ATA to be the leading advocate for the industry, and ensure that the legislative and regulatory environment helps promote the growth of commercial aviation."
From the standpoint of regulation, taxation and fees, and capital costs, the airline industry is more complex and challenged than most others, Calio said.
"The direction from our board of directors is clear: ATA must build the capability to be a cutting-edge advocate for the industry, so that we can build a better understanding of the barriers that prevent commercial aviation in the United States from being sustainably profitable and from contributing even more to the global economy,” Calio said.
Included in the reorganization:
Sharon Pinkerton was promoted to senior vice president of legislative and regulatory policy, a new position. A new senior vice president of global government affairs will be hired. In addition, the organization plans to add other top-line lobbyists to the government affairs function. Tom Hendricks was promoted to senior vice president of safety, security and operations. Hendricks will take on responsibility for the technical and operational functions at ATA.
These new appointments join recently announced senior vice president of communications, Jean Medina, along with CFO Paul Archambeault and general counsel David Berg, to comprise the leadership team reporting to Calio, the ATA said.