Practices

Aviation Bankruptcy

Kaplan Kirsch & Rockwell has been deeply involved in all post-9/11 airline bankruptcy cases, handling billions of dollars in claims and successfully negotiating the multitude of varying agreements with airlines on behalf of airport owner/operators in airline bankruptcies nationwide.  We also represent a wide range of clients in other bankruptcy matters involving airport users.

Because of our comprehensive understanding of airport-based issues and bankruptcy, we are able to anticipate bankruptcy issues in advance and counsel our clients as to how to best plan for this eventuality.  When bankruptcy cases are filed, we are uniquely equipped to assist airports navigating the bankruptcy process, whether it involves ensuring an uninterrupted flow of Passenger Facility Charges (PFCs), obtaining payment for past or current airport use, or negotiating with the airline to help insure continued air service for the airport and its surrounding communities.  We have represented airports in bankruptcy court hearings involving use and lease agreement assumptions, multimillion-dollar rejection claims, and proceedings regarding the means and methods of payments of PFCs to airports.

Representative Matters

  • Represented multiple large airports—including several large hub airports—in almost all airline bankruptcies since 2001, including the Frontier, TWA, ATA, Vanguard, Midway, United, Independence, US Airways (I & II), Delta, Northwest and American Airlines Chapter 11 proceedings.
  • Assisted airports in securing uninterrupted flow of PFCs, post-petition payments, and related airport operations.
  • Advised large hub airport in matters related to potential filing under Chapter 9 by the local municipality in which the airport was located.
  • Defended large hub airport in litigation initiated by bond trustee resulting in bankruptcy-based rejection of special facility lease that triggered a default in underlying special facility bonds used to finance construction of hangar complex.
  • Represented airports in rental-car bankruptcy cases involving a multitude of matters, including protecting airport interests with respect to environmental claims, objecting to sales of assets that would have resulted in an unwanted concentration of companies at the airport, and negotiating the assumption of certain on-airport contracts.
  • Structured a complex airport management agreement to anticipate bankruptcy-centered issues in order to maximize airport owner/operator power and avoid operational disruptions.
  • Represented major hub airports to obtain ex officio status on Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors and represented airports’ interests on committee, assisting in committee analysis and oversight of labor and fleet restructurings of subject airlines.
  • Pursued claims of a large hub airport related to rejection of use and lease agreements in excess of $1 billion.
  • Structured and negotiated new use agreements with carriers under bankruptcy protection.
  • Pursued litigation against airlines regarding whether certain agreements are leases or financing arrangements (such as Special Facility Bonds).
  • Advised airports on airline restructuring, including the propriety of providing short-term incentives to carriers and the potential economic impact of their restructuring on the community.
  • Utilized FAA-based Grant Assurances in bankruptcy proceedings to protect airport-based interests and address matters such as adjusting rates to avoid future FAA concerns.
  • Used bankruptcy law in conjunction with intimate knowledge of airport agreements and operations along with FAA-based Grant Assurances to secure a large financial recovery to mitigate damage resulting from rejection of Airline Operating Agreement.
  • Represented a small hub airport in state court and bankruptcy proceedings to evict a tenant in breach of its leasing, fueling, and other contractual requirements.