Sunday, October 28
|1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.||REGISTRATION|
|3:00 p.m. – 4:45 p.m.||SESSION 1 – AIRPORT LAW 101
This session provides a basic explanation for how and why airport law is not the same as aviation law, the law governing other transportation modes, or more general municipal law. This session explores the manner in which the federal government (primarily—but not exclusively—the FAA) regulates airports and the activities of airport proprietors. The session discusses those areas where federal regulation is pervasive, where legal authority is shared, and where there is only limited federal regulatory oversight. It provides an introduction to common terms and legal relationships among the various stakeholders and provides background for new attendees at the conference and people who may be experienced lawyers but new to the field of airport law.
|4:45 p.m. – 5:45 p.m.||SESSION 2 – RESEARCH TOOLS IN AIRPORT LAW (ethics credit sought)
This session introduces research tools and the non-traditional sources for airport law. It offers guidance on finding FAA policies, guidance, regulations, directives, and other critical legal sources that are not common in other fields of law. It also provides a roadmap to take advantage of the Transportation Research Board’s Airport Cooperative Research Program legal research digests and original research reports on topics of interest to the airport community. The TRB staff member responsible for overseeing the research program provides an update on the latest reports and discusses forthcoming research topics. This is a highly interactive session where lawyers learn best practices for legal research and how to distinguish among different sources and their relative significance and importance in different legal contexts.
|6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.||OPENING RECEPTION|
Monday, October 29
|8:00 a.m. – 8:45 a.m.||REGISTRATION AND CONTINENTAL BREAKFAST|
|8:30 a.m. – 8:45 a.m.||WELCOME|
|8:45 a.m. – 9:45 a.m.||SESSION 3 – SPONSOR OBLIGATIONS PART 1: AVOIDING COMPLIANCE ISSUES IN EVERYDAY OPERATIONS
Interactions between airports and the FAA can be complex and even contentious if airport lawyers do not understand the basic principles underlying the FAA programs for compliance with grant assurance obligations. The session addresses the grant assurance obligations that most commonly trigger compliance issues – exclusive rights, unjust discrimination, maintaining sponsor’s rights and powers, and preserving good title. This session provides practical guidance—directly from lawyers and FAA regulators who deal with these issues every day—on how to maintain compliance with grant obligations and how to interact with the FAA when compliance problems do arise. The session also reviews recent FAA compliance decisions and provide guidance on the latest FAA policies on the most common compliance problems.
|9:45 a.m. – 10:45 a.m.||SESSION 4 – SPONSOR OBLIGATIONS PART 2: GRANT ASSURANCES AFFECTING AIRPORT DEVELOPMENT
Developing new airport projects or property can raise complex grant assurance issues, and it is important that airport lawyers understand the scope and depth of federal oversight over these issues. This session discusses federal obligations relating to use of airport revenue, use of airport land, obligations to maintain consistency with local plans, establishment of rates and charges, and maintenance of the airport layout plan. The session also discusses issues related to land use decisions such as requirements to ensure land use compatibility, the purchase and disposal of property (or interests in property), and how to structure business transactions to ensure compliance with grant assurance obligations.
|10:45 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.||MORNING REFRESHMENT AND NETWORKING BREAK|
|11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.||CONCURRENT SESSIONS
SESSION 5 – NEGOTIATION OF AIRLINE USE AND LEASE AGREEMENTS
The structure and length of airline leases and agreements with other aeronautical users have both changed significantly in the last few years. This session explores the current trends in negotiation of use and lease agreements with airlines and other service providers at commercial airports and discusses strategies that airports can use in these negotiations. The session examines the legal parameters under which airport negotiations occur and the strategies that airlines and others have used in such negotiations.
SESSION 6 – UNDERSTANDING GENERAL AVIATION LEASES AND TENANT AGREEMENTS
Leases and other agreements with tenants are the primary legal documents general aviation airports use to govern their relationships with FBOs, hangar tenants and owners, and other airport users. Therefore, lease and other agreements are critical from financial, business, and compliance perspectives, often requiring delicate balancing of competing interests. This session discusses best practices for negotiation with the full range of airport tenants, including the role of minimum standards and airport rules/regulations, given evolving compliance requirements and the changing economic structure of the FBO industry and general aviation overall.
|12:15 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.||SESSION 7 AND LUNCH PRESENTATION
This lunch session features an AAAE senior lobbyist who provides an update on activity on Capitol Hill, including the status of FAA Reauthorization legislation, annual appropriations, and other legislative activity of particular interest to airports and airport lawyers. This session also provides an insider perspective on how national politics will affect prospects for airport-related litigation after the 2016 mid-term elections.
|1:45 p.m. – 2:45 p.m.||CONCURRENT SESSIONS
SESSION 8 – BASICS OF AIRPORT FINANCE
Understanding the permissible sources and uses of funds for airports is one of the foundations of airport law. This session offers airport lawyers an introduction to the unique legal structure under which airports generate revenue and the constraints on expenditure of airport funds. This session is intended to be an introduction to airport finance, federal regulation of airport finances, and the legal requirements for documenting the sources and uses of airport funds.
SESSION 9 – NEW DEVELOPMENTS AND POLICIES AFFECTING AIRPORT FINANCE
This session explores the emerging legal issues that airport sponsors are facing in seeking innovative and creative sources of funding. As airports seek more diversified revenue sources in an effort to keep rates and charges reasonable for aeronautical users, it becomes more complex to navigate the financial and legal requirements for how, when, and from whom the sponsor can generate revenue. The focus of this session is on aeronautical revenue and other aeronautical-related services and functions. This session assumes that the participants are already familiar with the basics of airport finance, federal regulation of airport revenue and expenditures, and the traditional models for airport rates and charges.
|2:45 p.m. – 3:45 p.m.||SESSION 10 – PREPARING FOR NEW AIRPORT PROJECTS: MASTER PLANNING, DEVELOPMENT, AND ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEW
Airport master planning and development is legally complex because of the web of federal, state, and local land use requirements imposed on airport sponsors. This session walks participants through the master planning and development process from initial concept to completion of a project, including not just the planning process, but also the federal environmental review process and the procedures for securing (or preserving eligibility for) federal funding for capital projects. Presenters include an experienced FAA lawyer and an FAA environmental specialist who have navigated the complex process successfully on small and large projects throughout the nation.
|3:45 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.||AFTERNOON REFRESHMENT AND NETWORKING BREAK|
|4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.||SESSION 11 – THE LAW OF AIRPORT NOISE
The traditional problems of airport noise gradually became less dominant from the late 1990s until the last several years as a result of a quieter fleet, successful noise mitigation efforts by airports nationwide, and the reduction in air traffic during the recession. Recently, however, there has been a significant increase in attention to airport noise issues. While much of that has been attributable to the FAA’s implementation of NextGen air traffic management tools, new pressure for nearby development has resulted in encroachment of incompatible land uses near airports. This session explores the basic legal relationships among aircraft users, airports, and the federal government in the regulation and mitigation of noise and explores in depth how those relationships affect an airport sponsor’s obligations and legal authority to address noise issues.
Tuesday, October 30
|8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.||REGISTRATION AND CONTINENTAL BREAKFAST|
|8:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.||SESSION 12 – PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIPS AND AIRPORT CONCESSIONS
Public-private partnerships (also known as P3s) are common at airports worldwide but, until recent years, were virtually unheard of in the United States. For a number of legal, policy, and economic reasons (that will be discussed in this session), P3s are becoming increasingly popular as an alternative project delivery tool for a range of airport projects from terminals and car rental facilities to general aviation functions. This session presents the legal framework within which airport sponsors should examine P3s and places this particular project delivery tool into the context of other more traditional contracting methods. The session examines not only aeronautical projects but also non-aeronautical projects and the law that affects whether and how airport sponsors engage the private sector in airport development and operations.
|9:30 a.m. – 9:45 a.m.||MORNING REFRESHMENT AND NETWORKING BREAK|
|9:45 a.m. –10:30 a.m.||CONCURRENT SESSIONS
SESSION 13 – SAFETY, SECURITY, AND TORT LIABILITY
The release of the FAA’s long-delayed Safety Management System (SMS) rules has again been delayed, but more airport sponsors are recognizing that SMS is coming and that it will fundamentally change the role of the airport sponsor in policing safety. The legal landscape and sponsor liability will be changed by SMS and this session discusses how airport lawyers can prepare for the advent of this new regulatory scheme and what actions lawyers should take now to address the changes in liability that SMS will cause. Other new burdens face airports including initiatives by TSA to put a greater burden for airport security on airports. Like the SMS initiatives, the TSA proposals will inevitably require sponsors to play a greater role in security. This session explores these new obligations and the liability implications for airport sponsors.
SESSION 14 – GROUND TRANSPORTATION REGULATION
Ground access to and egress from airports, particularly urban large and medium hub airports, has become a significant choke point. However, federal law designed to protect airports from diverting airport revenues substantially limits airports’ abilities to help fund needed ground access projects. The rise of transportation network companies (TNCs) like Uber and Lyft has also had a huge impact and has disrupted expectations and important sources of non-aeronautical revenues. Alternatives to traditional rental car models are springing up, challenging the existing status quo. And providers of these disruptive technologies are seeking to circumvent the ability of airport to regulate and impose fees on them. This session examines the growing body of regulatory and statutory law that influences ground access at U.S. airports, as well as the federal limitations and requirements pertaining to funding ground access improvement projects. Lastly, we will look ahead and help practitioners begin to identify additional legal and operational issues that may arise in the context of ground transportation at airports, including the potential impact of both land-based and aerial autonomous vehicles.
|10:45 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.||SESSION 15 – A DEBATE: LAW AND POLICY ON NON-AERONAUTICAL DEVELOPMENT
Airports are increasingly becoming real estate developers and investors, using airport real estate to generate revenue and local economic activity. Airport lawyers need to understand the strategies that airports have used to attract non-aeronautical development and the regulatory requirements for such projects. This session focuses on the role of airports as proponents of non-aeronautical development, whether that is for purely collateral development designed for revenue generation or for airport-oriented projects that enhance and complement aeronautical functions. The session explores the unique legal framework for airports when they engage in commercial transactions that are unrelated or only tangentially related to the airport’s aeronautical functions.
|12:00 p.m. – 1:15 p.m.||SESSION 16 AND LUNCH PRESENTATION|
|1:30 p.m. – 2:15 p.m.||SESSION 17 – LATEST DEVELOPMENTS IN TSA REGULATIONS AND POLICIES
This conference’s annual presentation from the TSA’s Chief Counsel on TSA legal issues is always one of the highlights. The first and only TSA Chief Counsel provides an update on current legal issues facing the agency and offers an insider’s perspective on how the TSA interacts with local law enforcement, airport staff, and airport counsel. This session provides a frank, off-the-record discussion of legal problems facing airport security.
|2:15 p.m. – 2:45 p.m.||AFTERNOON REFRESHMENT AND NETWORKING BREAK|
|2:45 p.m. – 3:45 p.m.||SESSION 18 – PUBLIC FINANCING OF AIRPORT INFRASTRUCTURE
Debt financing to fund airport capital programs is a complex area of the law, requiring familiarity with federal airport, tax and securities law, state and local municipal finance law, and the business and revenues of the airport for which the debt will be issued. This session provides an overview of these complex issues including the security and structuring of tax exempt and taxable bonds for airport projects, general airport revenue bonds (GARBs), special facilities revenue bonds, PFC-backed bonds, variable rate debt and fixed-rate bonds. We also dig into the SEC’s oversight of new issue and continuing disclosure as well as the federal tax law requirements applicable to both governmental purpose and airport facility private activity bonds, and other mysteries of the municipal bond world.
|3:45 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.||SESSION 19 – WHY AIRPORT LAWYERS MATTER: OUR ROLE IN CRITICAL POLICY ISSUES
The final session of the conference welcomes all faculty members to the podium to discuss what we do and why we like to do it. Airport lawyers play a vital role in ensuring that policy leaders are provided with thoughtful and forward-thinking legal analysis to prepare them and the airports they serve for the inevitable changes and disruptive technologies they will be confronting in the near future. Increasingly, airport lawyers are also drawn into the debate on innovative legal issues, including airports’ evolving role as the forum for addressing social issues and the target of disruptive technology; legalization of marijuana; and the legal implications of new technology such as ride-sharing, car-sharing, drones and multi-modal connections. This interactive session provides a capstone to the conference and an opportunity for participants to hear the faculty’s differing perspectives on hot legal topics facing airport lawyers.