People

Eric T. Smith

Partner

Washington, DC Office
202.955.5600

Education and Clerkships

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

Bar 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 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.

As an experienced litigator, Eric 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, Eric has extensive experience structuring and negotiating complex business arrangements, both in the distressed and non-distressed business contexts.  He has particular expertise in representing airport operators and aircraft owners and lessees in airline bankruptcies.  In recent years, Eric has been deeply involved in all post-9/11 airline bankruptcy cases.

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 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
  • 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
  • Represented large hub airport in defense of record of decision at FAA concerning runway realignment and related property acquisition
  • Represented large hub airport in negotiation of labor harmony agreement in connection with airport concessions operations and related matters
  • Assisted medium hub airport in lease negotiations for development of airport land for non-aeronautical use
  • Represented medium hub airport in developing global resolution to airport concessions, labor dispute, and related renegotiation of master concessions contract
  • Assisted small, general aviation airport in developing alternative instrument approaches to address obstructions in approach area of airport
  • Represented large hub airport in drafting of concessions agreements for new concessions program
  • Assisted medium hub airport in developing and implementing airline incentive plan for new entrant air service

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

AAAE National Airport Economic Development Conference
03.25.18
AAAE Unmanned Aircraft Systems Issues and Integration Conference
12.05.17
33rd Annual AAAE Basics of Airport Law Workshop and 2017 Legal Update
10.17.17
33rd Annual AAAE Basics of Airport Law Workshop and 2017 Legal Update
10.16.17
33rd Annual AAAE Basics of Airport Law Workshop and 2017 Legal Update
10.16.17
Negotiating Agreements with FBOs, Legalities, Strategies & War Stories: Practical Advice for the Airport Sponsor
AAAE National Airport Economic Development Conference
04.10.17
Drones, Manned Aircraft and The Role of Local Governments
Allegheny League of Municipalities Spring Educational Conference
04.07.17
32nd Annual AAAE Basics of Airport Law Workshop and 2016 Legal Update
11.15.16
32nd Annual AAAE Basics of Airport Law Workshop and 2016 Legal Update
11.14.16
32nd Annual AAAE Basics of Airport Law Workshop and 2016 Legal Update
11.14.16
32nd Annual AAAE Basics of Airport Law Workshop and 2016 Legal Update
11.14.16
How to Fly Legally: A Primer on Part 107
Annual UAS Conference
10.14.16
Drones: Uses, Regulations & Legal Implications for Municipalities
City of Philadelphia Law Department Annual CLE Conference
07.14.16
ACI-NA/AAAE Airport Board and Commissioners Conference
04.11.16
Bringing It All Together: Facilitated Integration Discussion on Integration of UAS into the NAS and the Airport Environment
AAAE Unmanned Aircraft Systems Issues and Integration Conference
11.10.15
31st Annual AAAE Basics of Airport Law Workshop and 2015 Legal Update
11.03.15
31st Annual AAAE Basics of Airport Law Workshop and 2015 Legal Update
11.03.15
31st Annual AAAE Basics of Airport Law Workshop and 2015 Legal Update
11.02.15
Rise of the Drones – What Do Unmanned Aircraft Systems Mean to You?
Annual ACI-NA Conference and Exhibition
10.05.15
Litigation Update (Substantial Contribution Standard for $4.50 PFCs, What's the Standard?)
ACI-NA Legal Affairs Fall Committee Meeting
10.03.15
Labor & Wage Trends & How They Affect Business
ACI-NA Business of Airports Conference
04.20.15
Issues Relating to Workers for Airlines, Contractors, and Concessionaires: Labor Peace, Living Wage Issues – the Philadelphia Experience
ACI-NA Legal Affairs Spring Conference
04.17.15
Co-Moderator
AAAE Unmanned Aircraft Systems Issues and Integration Conference
11.19.14
30th Annual AAAE Basics of Airport Law Workshop and 2014 Legal Update
10.21.14
Labor Harmony, Living Wage And Related Topics
ACI-NA Legal Affairs Spring Conference
04.08.14
Aviation Litigation Update: Fees, Wage Laws, Airports & Other Challenges
ABA Forum on Air & Space Law Update Conference
02.19.14
Litigation Update, Part 16 Litigation: Lowering Minimum Standards, No Good Deed Goes Unpunished
ACI-NA Legal Affairs Fall Committee Meeting
September 2013
Airport Document Retention Programs: An Overview of Best Practices
Annual NEC/AAAE Conference
08.17.13
Airports Council International-North America
Webinar on American-US Airways Merger and Antitrust Issues
August 2013
Airports, Firearms and Applicable Law, Federal and State: A Practical Overview
ACI-NA Legal Affairs Spring Conference
05.17.13
Airline Bankruptcy Update
ACI-NA Legal Affairs Spring Conference
05.17.13
FAA Enforcement Actions: When the Auditors Come Calling
ACI-NA Legal Affairs Spring Conference
05.16.13
Airline Bankruptcies: Protection of Airports' and Agency Interests
Federal Bar Association’s Transportation and Transportation Security Law Section’s Lawyers’ Luncheon
March 2012
Recent Trends in Airport Concessions Model: Labor & Economic Issues
ACI-NA Airport Concessions Conference
11.08.11
U.S. Airport and Large Construction Projects: Risk Mitigation Tools
ACI World & North America Conference and Exhibition
September 2010
U.S. Airport Risk Profiles: Planning for Airport Structure Damage/Loss
ACI-NA Legal Affairs Spring Conference
04.17.10
Current Airport Financing Issues: Airport-based Derivative Products
ACI-NA Legal Affairs Spring Conference
May 2009
Navigating the Risks of Aerospace Product Liability
Marsh Aviation Conference
11.06.08
Recent Developments In Airport Litigation
ACI World & North America Conference and Exhibition
September 2008
Airline Bankruptcy Issues
ACI-NA Legal Affairs Spring Conference
May 2006

Publications

Kaplan Kirsch & Rockwell
2005–Present
Transportation Research Board's Airport Cooperative Research Program
February 2017
Co-Authored with Joseph F. Messina
10 Journal of Airport Management 273
Summer 2016
Kaplan Kirsch & Rockwell and Harris Miller Miller & Hanson Inc.
12.10.14

Education and Clerkships

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

Bar 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