Kaplan Kirsch & Rockwell represents some of the world’s largest airports in comprehensive master planning for long-term capital improvements and related real property legal issues. We provide counsel 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.
On the planning side we counsel airport clients on the legal requirements for airport development projects and implementation of master plans. 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. We frequently provide counsel to airport sponsors early in the planning process to ensure that both planning and implementation comply with the web of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requirements (grant assurances, regulations, policies, and statutory requirements); federal, state, and local environmental requirements; financial best practices; and distinct local or state laws.
On the development side we craft and negotiate bespoke project agreements and guide our clients through federal regulatory and grant assurance compliance issues. We know the importance of the interrelated elements in airport development projects, including transactional issues and documents, due diligence for acquisition, land use and entitlements, environmental issues, federal and state regulatory requirements, public and private financing, and construction contracting.
We have advised airports on creative land acquisition and development strategies for decades and assisted airports of all sizes with the drafting, negotiation and execution of comprehensive commercial/industrial aeronautical lease agreements. This includes fixed base operator (FBO) agreements, hangar leases, ground leases, though-the-fence arrangements and similar provisions. Increasingly, we assist airports with non-aeronautical development projects. These engagements require a sophisticated understanding of the local real estate market and an appreciation for the regulatory constraints imposed on commercial non-aeronautical leases at airports, including but not limited to Section 163 of the FAA Reauthorization Act and FAA’s policies on land use.