This paper has been developed in collaboration with the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE) and was prepared by contributing advisory members of the Airport Consortium on Consumer Trust (ACT) Program's Finance Working Group, led by Kaplan Kirsch & Rockwell, EY, Steer, and the Minneapolis-St Paul International Airport. Its goal is to provide a simple, easy-to-follow catalogue of key business terms and provisions in airport concessions contracts, which can be used by airport managers throughout the United States regardless of airport size, location, or organizational structure. This paper should provide sufficient context and background to allow airport decision-makers to be informed business partners, capable of “asking the right questions,” and exploring the best alternatives and contractual structures for their specific airport. It is critical to note that each airport’s position will be unique and will inevitably require the consideration of many historical precedents, local market influences, legal and commercial legacy agreements, consumer preferences, and market demand, to name a few. For this reason, this paper should not be viewed as a complete guide to preparing any airport manager for a full and final concession agreement negotiation. This paper also reflects on more recent changes in the contracting environment since the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic and seeks to highlight preliminary lessons learned, though we note the industry continues to evolve as passenger traffic and the health of the industry improve.
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