Planning and Development

Kaplan Kirsch & Rockwell represents some of the largest airports in the world in comprehensive master planning for long-term capital improvements.  We counsel airports on the environmental, noise, and land use issues associated with major facility expansions, runway extensions, and collateral development projects.  Our work is not limited to ambitious billion-dollar projects: we also provide comprehensive counsel for commercial, primary hub airports and general aviation airports in the planning, approval, and implementation of development and infrastructure projects.

We have been actively involved in the planning for the majority of the new commercial service airports built in the United States in the last generation.  This work has called upon our expertise not only in airport planning and in compliance with federal law, but also our in-depth knowledge of intergovernmental agreements, land use planning, state and local environmental regulations, public finance, and contract negotiation—all of which enables us to help our clients navigate the myriad legal hurdles that face complex public-sector projects.

A large portion of Kaplan Kirsch & Rockwell’s airports practice concerns the legal requirements for airport development projects and implementation of master plans.  We frequently provide counsel to airport sponsors early in the planning process to ensure that both planning and implementation comply with the web of FAA requirements (grant assurances, regulations, policies, and statutory requirements); federal, state, and local environmental requirements; financial best practices; and unique local or state laws.

When airport proprietors seek to realign or close facilities, our attorneys provide expert counsel regarding the complex regulatory processes for decommissioning airport facilities or for airport closure.

Representative Matters

  • Provided comprehensive strategic and development counsel for proposed new greenfield commercial airports in Denver, Colorado; Las Vegas, Nevada; Hailey-Sun Valley, Idaho; and Northwestern Indiana.
  • Advised on environmental, regulatory, and FAA funding requirements for major airport expansions in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Los Angeles, California; West Palm Beach, Florida; Chicago, Illinois; and San Francisco, California.
  • Provided strategic counsel on planning and development for airport expansions and realignments in Chicago, Illinois; Aspen, Colorado; Ft. Lauderdale, Florida; Denver, Colorado; Gary, Indiana; and Mesa, Arizona.
  • Developed legal strategy for potential airfield realignment project in Westchester County, New York.
  • Advised on potential realignment or closure of airport facilities in Chicago, Illinois; Stuart, Florida; and Cincinnati, Ohio.

News & Publications


32nd Annual AAAE Basics of Airport Law Workshop and 2016 Legal Update
32nd Annual AAAE Basics of Airport Law Workshop and 2016 Legal Update


Transportation Research Board's Airport Cooperative Research Program
February 2017