On day two of ACI-NA’s Spring Legal Conference, attendees were greeted by Philadelphia International Airport Director Mark Gale. Introduced by Divisional City Solicitor Joseph Messina, attendees learned that Gale began at the airport as an intern and later returned to assume a variety of positions following his graduation from Emery Riddle University. He became Airport Director in 2009. Gale applauded the airport lawyers for the contributions they make to ensure that airports operate in accordance with legal requirements.
Gale pointed out that the Philadelphia airport is the 9th busiest airport in the US and the 11th busiest airport in the world. He mentioned several projects underway at his airport, including a multi-billion dollar airport expansion program, called the Capacity Enhancement Program, which was recently approved by the FAA. He noted that Philadelphia Airport has been a congested and delayed prone airport for several decades, and the capacity improvement plan should improve airport efficiencies and opportunities for global growth. He recognized the importance of airports to regional economic growth in most US metropolitan statistical areas, and especially to the Philadelphia region.
Reflective of Gale’s strong sense of humor and wit, he borrowed from a radio contest called “Tabloid Trivia” in concluding remarks with the conference attendees. He quoted three newspaper headlines involving lawyers, one of which was actually false, and asked the attendees to identify the false headline by a show of hands. The false headline was: “Lawyer Sues Himself.” None of the conference attendees guessed that one. Accordingly, the pre-approved contest award of an all-expense travel from Philadelphia to a Caribbean destination of the winner’s choice as long as the trip occurred anytime between April 1 and 13, 2011, went unclaimed!
Conference Lawyers Hear About Community Giving Policies
One of the sessions during the Spring Legal Conference featured an interactive session moderated by David Mackey, General Counsel of Boston Logan Airport, on legal issues presented by airport attempts to entertain community giving and charitable requests. First, David Bannard of ACI-NA associate law firm Foley & Lardner presented an overview of the law in the area, including the FAA’s revenue diversion rules and grant assurances the impact airports that received certain federal funds. Then, Timothy Karaskiewicz, airport attorney for General Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee and Chairman of the Legal Affairs Steering Group, posing as an airport executive, presented a series of scenarios representative of requests airports often receive from charities and other community organizations for airport access, services and/or funds to David Mackey, who acted as CEO of the airport. Mackey consulted the airport’s attorney, David Bannard, for legal advice on these issues. The attendees were often asked for their thoughts on the scenarios, and many participated in the interactive session. It was a great way to learn about the nuances of the law in this area. It kept all involved and presented the legal concerns in a way that conference attendees will be able to apply in their day to day encounters.
Conference Session on Airport Use and Lease Agreements
Legal Conference attendees received a snapshot understanding of the complex concerns raised in airport use and lease negotiations during a one-hour session on airport use and lease agreements moderated by Emily Neuberger, General Counsel of Detroit Metro Airport, a panel representing airports, airlines and their consultants, including Scott Lewis of ACI-NA law firm Anderson & Kreiger, Amy Weaver, Manager, Properties Department, Southwest Airlines, Marsha Stone, Chief Financial Officer, Indianapolis Airport Authority, Rhona DiCamillo of D & G Consulting Group, and Pam Drenner, Regional Director, Properties, Corporate Real Estate, Delta Air Lines. Five issues were addressed by these panelists during the session: rate setting and revenue sharing concerns; joint use formulas; approaches is dealing with the issue of control of the airport’s capital program; how affiliates are treated in the agreement; and pros and cons of airport consortiums. The panelists provided a wealth of information to attendees based on their actual experiences in recent airport/airline negotiations. The interactive nature of the presentation highlighted the complexity of some of the issues, and the creative new approaches being used to satisfy the needs of the airports as well as the airlines in these areas.