Nicholas Calio, the president and CEO of Airlines for America, was more than an hour late giving his keynote speech to Aviation Week’s MRO America’s conference. But it wasn’t his fault: everybody attending the event had been evacuated to the basement of the Dallas Convention Center as two tornados raged through the region. After about an hour of hunkering down, everybody was permitted back upstairs, and Calio gave his address. Among the highlights:
*Calio noted that airlines in the Middle East have more widebody jets on order than current are flown by all U.S. carriers combined. And they plan to use many of those new jets to compete against U.S. airlines on lucrative international routes.
*He lamented that the U.S. airline industry paid more than $10 in taxes last year for every $1 of profit it made. In fact, he argues that U.S. carriers bear a higher tax burden than alcohol or tobacco products. “While I have nothing against those products, they are supposedly taxed to discourage consumption.”
*Calio was asked about the Chinese government’s threat to block purchases of Airbus jets by Chinese airlines if the European Union refuses to back off of a unilateral emissions trading levy that is opposed by most of the rest of the world. His response: he clapped, and then said, “More power to them.”