People

Eric T. Smith

Partner

Washington, DC Office
202.955.5600

Education

J.D., Temple University Beasley School of Law, 1993
B.A., cum laude, Duquesne University, 1989

Bar and Court Admissions

Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
District of Columbia
United States District Court for the District of Colorado
United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania
United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania
United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit

Eric T. Smith

Eric Smith concentrates his practice in the aviation, airport, and aviation-based labor, airport concessions, and bankruptcy arenas.  

He represents airport owners and operators of all sizes across the United States, providing legal and practical counsel on a full spectrum of issues that range from drafting large-scale operating agreements, to acquiring federal assistance for obtaining and maintaining air carrier service, to securing federal grants for physical improvements to the airport.  

Eric has extensive experience structuring and negotiating complex business arrangements, both in the distressed and non-distressed business contexts.  Eric’s bankruptcy experience is extensive, having represented debtors, and a wide-array of creditors (including large banks, landlords, and airports), in Chapter 11 proceedings all across the United States.  He has particular expertise in representing airport operators and aircraft owners and lessees in airline bankruptcies having been deeply involved in all post-9/11 airline bankruptcy cases and has served as counsel to airports of all sizes in those cases.

Eric as an experienced litigator, he is also well equipped to handle airport-based litigation, whether it is suits brought by airlines, tenants, or property owners.  His practice covers regulatory and litigation matters proceedings before the U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Aviation Administration, and in cases filed in both the state and federal courts.

Additionally, he is also experienced in labor and employment matters and assists airports in navigating the myriad of issues involving on-airport employment matters, including labor peace agreements, prevailing wage ordinances, and how those issues may impact concessions programs, such as ACDBE programs.

Representative Experience

  • Successfully negotiated an assumption of a use and lease agreement at large hub airport that maintained hub status of carrier and approved large new capital investment at airport
  • Represented medium hub airport in successful litigation of rejection claim involving use and lease agreement resulting in multimillion-dollar payout to airport
  • Represented medium hub airport matter involving rejection of special facility lease in bankruptcy case of hangar and restructuring of related bond debt
  • Acted as special Passenger Facility Charge (PFC) counsel in multi-layer bond issue that was partially secured by PFCs at large hub airport
  • Acted as lead counsel for numerous airports (ranging from small to large hubs) in the negotiation of airline use agreements 
  • Represented small hub airport in multi-year dispute with network carriers over scope of permissible rate-setting mythologies to employ for charging airlines for use of airport facilities
  • Acted as lead airport counsel to medium hub airport in implementation of airport modernization program that involved the construction of a new terminal complex and the negotiation of the related airport use agreement with airlines
  • Acted as special Passenger Facility Charge (PFC) counsel in multi-layer bond issue that was partially secured by PFCs at large hub airport
  • Litigated at FAA Part 16 enforcement action involving fixed-base operator and small hub airport and related modification to minimum standards
  • Represented small hub airport in Part 13 matter involving unsuccessful bid on new agreement for long term agreement with a fixed-base operator

Professional and Civic Activities

  • Member, American Bar Association
  • Member, Allegheny County Bar Association
  • Member, Pittsburgh Human Resources Association
  • Member, Airports Council International-North America
  • Board Member, Aviation Council of Pennsylvania
  • Member, Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association
  • Member, Society for Human Resource Management
  • Member, Turnaround Management Association
  • Board Member, Brian Anselmino Memorial Fund

News & Publications

Presentations

36th Annual Aiport Law Workshop
10.22.20
35th Annual Airport Law Workshop
10.15.19
View All Presentations

Publications

Kaplan Kirsch & Rockwell
2014–Present
Transportation Research Board's Airport Cooperative Research Program
June 2019
Transportation Research Board's Airport Cooperative Research Program
February 2017
View All Publications

News

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Education

J.D., Temple University Beasley School of Law, 1993
B.A., cum laude, Duquesne University, 1989

Bar and Court Admissions

Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
District of Columbia
United States District Court for the District of Colorado
United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania
United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania
United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit