Principles for Evaluating Long-Term, Exclusive Agreements in the ACDBE Program Guidance

On Monday, June 10, 2013, airport sponsors were advised by the Federal Aviation Administration's Office of Civil Rights, of the agency's issuance of a "Principles for Evaluating Long-Term, Exclusive Agreements in the ACDBE Program Guidance."  Earlier draft guidance documents on long-term exclusive concessions agreements were issued for public comment on November 4, 20010, and May 12, 2012.  Airports Council International-North America submitted comments on both draft guidance documents, with input from its Business Diversity and Legal Affairs Committees.  The FAA's recently issued guidance reflects some consideration of many of the concerns raised in ACI-NA's comments.

In its transmittal of the June 10 guidance, the FAA stated as follows:

"The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is responsible for overseeing and monitoring airport compliance with the Airport Concession Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (ACDBE) program rules set forth at 49 C.F.R. Part 23.  The purpose of this guidance on Long-Term, Exclusive (LTE) agreements for concessions is to provide information and direction to airport sponsors, The FAA refers to recipients of AIP grants as "sponsors".  In general, a sponsor may be a public agency, a private owner, or a State entity that is associated with a public-use airport.  Sponsors must be legally, financially, and otherwise able to carry out the assurances and obligations contained in the project application and grant agreement. ACDBE program staff, stakeholders, and all other interested parties on how to determine whether an agreement is considered a LTE agreement subject to the prohibition against such agreements in the ACDBE program rules.  The guidance is designed to assist sponsors in structuring their leasing activities, consistent with the requirements of 49 C.F.R. Part 23, so that ACDBEs have an opportunity to participate in airport concessions; it is not intended to obstruct airport concession business operations.

This guidance supersedes all previous guidance on LTE agreements and addresses circumstances not previously covered."

If you have concerns regarding the guidance, please send them to Monica Hargrove and the Business Diversity Committee will seek clarification of those issues with appropriate personnel in the FAA's Office of Civil Rights.