ACI-NA Weekly Legal Briefing--Issue 6

      ACI-NA’s Weekly Legal Briefing   

Volume 2012, Issue 6

Week of March 26 – 30, 2012

Legal Affairs Committee Members:

The following matters are highlighted for your review and information.

  • Aviation Lawyers Participate in Luncheon Program on Airline Bankruptcies

Tuesday’s lawyers luncheon program held at the U.S. Department of Transportation, entitled “Regulatory Issues and Legal Perspectives on Airline Bankruptcies,”proved a worthwhile primer on airline bankruptcy proceedings.

 

The panel participants included:

  • Lauralyn Remo, Chief of the Air Carrier Fitness Division in the Office of Aviation Analysis within the USDOT Office of the Secretary of Transportation; 
  • Andrea Handel, Trial Attorney with the Department of Justice Civil Division, specializing in complex trial litigation, including airline bankruptcies (represents federal agencies, including DOT, FAA, and TSA in bankruptcy court proceedings);
  • Frank J. San Martin, Manager of the FAA Airports Financial Assistance Division in the Office of Airports; and
  • Eric Smith, co-chair of the Aviation Group and member of both the Litigation Services and Business Services Departments at Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis LLP (represents a large number of airports in airline bankruptcy proceedings).

The luncheon program was sponsored by the Federal Bar Association’s Transportation and Transportation Security Law Section, of which ACI-NA’s General Counsel, Monica Hargrove, serves as Chair Elect.  A diverse group of approximately forty lawyers from various government agencies, the private sector, and several ACI-NA legal affairs committee members, participated in the program in person and/or by telephone.

 

Of particular interest from an airport perspective were the presentations made by Frank J. San Martin and Eric Smith of associate ACI-NA law firm, Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis.  San Martin discussed the Federal Aviation Administration’s role in ensuring that air carriers in bankruptcy comply with federal requirements to separate PFC revenues from incoming air carrier revenues pending the bankruptcy proceedings, and to remit them in a timely manner to airports.  He also provided a copy of the agency’s standard letter sent to bankrupt air carriers advising them of their obligations under the PFC statute and regulations.  Smith discussed ways in which air carrier bankruptcies can impact airports.  More specifically he addressed, among other issues, bankrupt air carriers’ alternatives with respect to assuming or rejecting their use and lease agreements with airports, the impact of a decision to reject a use and lease agreement on facility availability at airports following an airline’s filing for bankruptcy as well as the impact of that decision on such carrier’s leasehold rates at the airport and resulting decisions on its continued service offerings at that airport, the requirements for any new airline agreements entered during the bankruptcy between the airport and airline to be approved by the bankruptcy court, and the impact that a bankrupt airline’s decisions on aircraft leases has on its continued operations in general, as well as the aircraft market that becomes available to other carriers who might compete with or offer services in markets previously served by the bankrupt carrier.  Smith also identified other agreements that could impact an airport’s financial strength following a carrier’s entry into bankruptcy, including an airport’s fuel consortium agreement in which the bankrupt carrier might have been a part owner, special facility leases which could be treated by the bankruptcy court as contracts rather than leases and impair the airport’s ability to make bond payments, as well as the huge issues associated with a bankrupt carrier’s attempt to sell international route authorities and/or slots during bankruptcy proceedings without the prior approval of appropriate regulatory agencies.

 

Remo provided an overview of the involvement of the DOT’s Office of Aviation Fitness in evaluating the continued fitness of a bankrupt air carrier following its notification to the Department of its intent to file, or actual filing, of a bankruptcy petition.  Handel shared information on the role of the Department of Justice in representing various government agencies in U. S. Bankruptcy Court proceedings, noting that she has been involved in cases representing the interests of a diverse group of agencies including Customs and Border Patrol, the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Defense, the Department of Transportation, the Federal Aviation Administration, and the Transportation Security Administration, among others.  She also provided information on the statutory authority for the DOJ’s involvement in such proceedings and shared unique experiences and practical insights with the attendees.

 

  • App for Animal Relief Areas on Airports

The organization “Working Like Dogs” has created a free iPhone and Android app that provides a directory of animal relief areas at airports in the United States.  The App, “Where to Go”, provides a short description of the location at each airport of the animal relief areas.  A free download is available on the “Working Like Dogs” website at http://www.workinglikedogs.com/working-like-dogs-store/where-to-go/.  It may be a good idea for someone at each airport to review the description provided for its airport.

 

  • TSA Announces Expansion of PreCheck Program

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) issued the following press release earlier today to announce the expansion of the TSA PreCheck initiative to additional airports and airlines. ACI-NA has been a strong supporter of expanding the program initiative to foster a more risk-based aviation security system. 

If you have questions or comments about the rollout of the program or are interested in providing a national perspective on this issue to your local markets, please contact Christopher R. Bidwellor Morgan Dye.

Click hereto read the press release.

Upcoming Conferences and Events

  • REGISTRATION FOR THE  2012 ACI-NA SPRING LEGAL AFFAIRS CONFERENCE IS NOW OPEN-----“The ABCs of RFPs and Airport Procurement---Lessons from those who’ve been there and back.” The Conference will take place from April 25-28, 2012 at the Double Tree Hotel, Charleston, SC.   The deadline for booking rooms at the conference hotel registration rate and for registration at the conference Early Bird Rate, is MONDAY, April 2.  Hotel rooms at this rate are going fast!

 

Spring Legal Affairs Conference Offers Real Life Guidance on Airport Procurement Issues

This year’s Spring Legal Affairs Conference will focus on airport procurement issues during its sessions on Wednesday and Thursday.  The opening session will provide three recent airport procurement scenarios arising in three different airport contexts, all of which experienced award protests.  Throughout the sessions, the emphasis will be on identifying best practices in different airport contracting/procurement areas.

One session, for example, will review the things to consider during the competitive selection process, including drafting RFPs, developing evaluation criteria, selection panels, vetting of panel members, responsible proposers and responsiveness of bids, handling questions from proposers, issuing addenda and granting extensions of time.  Another session will examine open records laws in different states and provide first-hand experience on what has to be handed over and when.  There will also be a session devoted to awards and protests, examining various protest procedures as well as issues of waiving errors, rejecting bids, “Best and Final Proposals”, how the ward is made and when, negotiations after the award and handling protest from disappointed bidders.  There will also be sessions devoted to: airport construction RFPs and competitive selection of design/build and CM/GC contractors; concessions RFPs and procurement processes; the award of professional services contracts, including the selection of architects and engineers, local rules on whether competitive selection is required, processes for the selection of outside counsel and bond counsel; and “sole source” situations and other exceptions to the competitive selection requirements.

The traditional sessions for this conference have been retained, with the Litigation Update Session, federal regulatory developments from Francine Kerner, Chief Counsel of the Transportation Security Administration, and from Daphne Fuller, Assistant Chief Counsel of the Federal Aviation Administration’s  Airports and Environmental Law Division.  There is also a panel including Supriya Raman, the FAA’s Program Manager of the Airport Disability Compliance Program, and Rebecca Springer of Crowell & Morning, to provide information on recently implemented government regulations affecting airports with respect to the accommodation of disabled travelers and hiring and employment practices associated with disabled persons.  And there’s even more; see the conference agenda for further details.

Registration is only a click away:  https://www.aci-na.com/scriptcontent/custom/Meetings/registrationLogin.cfm?meeting_where_to_next=http://www.aci-na.com/source/Meetings/cMeetingFunctionDetail.cfm?section=unknown&product_major=12412&functionstartdisplayrow=1

For a review of the full conference agenda, see http://www.aci-na.org/sites/default/files/events/legalconferenceagenda.pdf

 

 

AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST, and of particular interest as we approach the end of Women’s History Month,……

 

Did you know?   that U. S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recently endorsed a research effort to seek to investigate what may have happened during Amelia Earhart’s attempt to become the first woman to fly an aircraft around the world, and to discover the remains of the aircraft she operated.  Earlier this month, Secretary Clinton had the opportunity to welcome Tessie Lambourne,the foreign secretary of the island nation of Kiribati, where the exploration is planned. 

For additional information on this research exhibition effort, see http://abcnews.go.com/International/hillary-clinton-welcomes-amelia-earhart-exhibition-renewed-discovery/story?id=15958972#.T3Yx9tW2bAw

 

If you have information of interest to share, forward it to me by COB on Thursday of each week.

  Send it to:  mhargrove@aci-na.org

Have a great weekend!

Monica

Monica R. Hargrove
General Counsel

Direct: (202) 861-8088