National Academies Press: OpenBook

Legal Issues Relating to Airport Commercial Contracts (2021)

Chapter: ACRP LRD 41 Legal Issues Relating to Airport Commercial Contracts

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Suggested Citation:"ACRP LRD 41 Legal Issues Relating to Airport Commercial Contracts." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Legal Issues Relating to Airport Commercial Contracts. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26083.
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Background There are over 4,000 airports in the country and most of these airports are owned by governments. A 2003 sur- vey conducted by Airports Council International–North America concluded that city ownership accounts for 38 percent, followed by regional airports at 25 percent, single county at 17 percent, and multi-jurisdictional at 9 percent. Primary legal services to these airports are, in most cases, provided by municipal, county, and state attorneys. Research reports and summaries produced by the Airport Continuing Legal Studies Project and published as ACRP Legal Research Digests are developed to assist these attorneys seeking to deal with the myriad of legal problems encountered during airport development and operations. Such substantive areas as eminent domain, environmental concerns, leasing, contracting, security, insurance, civil rights, and tort liability present cutting- edge legal issues where research is useful and indeed needed. Airport legal research, when conducted through the TRB’s legal studies process, either collects primary data that usually are not available elsewhere or performs analysis of existing literature. Foreword Airport attorneys spend considerable time drafting and negotiating airport contracts that involve special- ized legal and business issues. Some are general com- mercial issues, while others are unique to airports. As governmental entities, airports are subject to a variety of govern mental law principles that can affect their con- tracts for commercial services. This digest complements other ACRP publications that deal with other legal aspects of airport operations. ACRP LRD 30: Contract Risk Management for Airport Agreements (2016) provides a general overview of the types of agreements airports use and includes other gov- ernment law principles that also can affect government contracts for commercial services. Further, airport com- mercial contracts may benefit from a variety of current commercial contracting practices, which may not be fully integrated into airport contracting practices. ACRP Report 54: Resource Manual for Airport In-Terminal Concessions (2011) reviewed many business concerns that airport proprietors address when planning and implementing a concessions program. ACRP Report 33: Guidebook for Developing and Managing Airport Contracts (2011) looks broadly at issues that may arise in airport agreements and includes examples of various agreements. These past publications focused primarily on the business aspects of contracting for airport con- cessions and other services. This legal digest is designed to assist with spotting issues and developing commercial contracts for airport proprietors and legal counsel. This digest considers common government law principles, current commer- cial contracting law and practices, and how they impact drafting and negotiating commercial contracts at air- ports. This digest assists airport counsel and proprietors to identify and address legal issues and provides sample language on a number of issues likely to be encountered in the development of airport commercial contracts. Legal Issues Relating to Airport Commercial Contracts This digest was prepared under ACRP Project 11-01, “Legal Aspects of Airport Programs,” for which the Transportation Research Board (TRB) is the agency coordinating the research. Under Topic 10-03, this digest was prepared by Scott A. Burrell, City University Construction Fund, New York, NY and Thomas D. Bridenbaugh, Parker, Poe, Adams & Bernstein, Washington, DC. The opinions and conclusions expressed or implied in this digest are those of the researchers who performed the research and are not necessarily those of the Transportation Research Board; the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine;­or­the­program­sponsors.­The­responsible­program­officer­is­Theresia­Schatz. FEBRUARY 2021 AIRPORT COOPERATIVE RESEARCH PROGRAM LRD

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Airport attorneys spend considerable time drafting and negotiating airport contracts that involve specialized legal and business issues. Some are general commercial issues, while others are unique to airports. As governmental entities, airports are subject to a variety of governmental law principles that can affect their contracts for commercial services.

The TRB Airport Cooperative Research Program's ACRP Legal Research Digest 41: Legal Issues Relating to Airport Commercial Contracts complements other ACRP publications that deal with other legal aspects of airport operations and provides a general overview of the types of agreements airports use and includes other government law principles that also can affect government contracts for commercial services.

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