ACI-NA Weekly Legal Briefing--Issue 10

ACI-NA’s Weekly Legal Briefing

Volume 2012, Issue 10

Week of May 14 – 18, 2012

Legal Affairs Committee Members:

Litigation of interest:

  • Georgia Supreme Court to Hear Tax Case Involving Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport

On May 7th, the Georgia Supreme Court agreed to review a Georgia Appellate Court decision that involves who may collect occupational taxes for some of the businesses at the Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport – the City of Atlanta or the City of College Park.  A portion of the airport (the main terminal, Concourse A, and part of Concourse B) is located within the city limits of College Park.  The appellate court ruled in June, 2011, that the City of College Park was entitled to collect occupational taxes from those businesses located in those portions of the airport located within College Park, and not the City of Atlanta, which had been collecting the occupational taxes.  The Appellate Court also ruled that the City of Atlanta itself is not exempt from liability to Collect Park for any occupational tax for Atlanta’s own proprietary business operations and revenue-generating activities that occur within those portions of the airport within the city limits of College Park.  Millions of dollars of taxes could be at stake. (City of Atlanta v. City of College Park, Supreme Court of Georgia Case No. S11C1839).

Regulatory Issues of Interest:


FAA Part 16 Procedural Modifications:     ACI-NA requested an extension of time to coordinate input from, and file comments on behalf of its members, in response to the FAA’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking concerning modifications to its Part 16 procedural rules, and the docket has been reopened through June 7, 2012.  Please send any comments on the NPRM to me by COB on Monday, May 21, 2012. 


For a copy of the NPRM, click here


FAA’s Consideration of Issuance of a  Program Guidance Letter (PGL) on airport residential sound insulation programs.  ACI-NA’s Environmental Affairs Committee has been working with airport and consulting representatives on issues associated with the FAA’s consideration of the issuance of a PGL on residential insulation programs. During the Spring Legal Affairs Conference, Tom Anderson of the Legal Affairs Steering Group highlighted some of the concerns that the Legal Steering Group has identified with the FAA’s suggested PGL.

During several recent conference calls between representatives of the Environmental Committee Steering Group and the Legal Affairs Steering Group, several significant problems with the PGL, as currently drafted, have been identified.  Many are concerned that if the FAA follows through on its current course on this issue, the eligibility of AIP, and possibly PFC funding, for both current and future airport noise insulation programs could be threatened based on the new PGL’s approach.   In brief, some FAA ADOs have approved airport residential sound insulation programs that did not require a “two-fold eligibility test”: (1) location within the DNL 65 dB contour and (2) an average interior noise level of 45 dB (testing with windows closed).   FAA believes the draft PGL, which requires this two-step test for eligibility merely “clarifies” existing guidance while both airport officials and numerous consultants feel that interpretation is incorrect and does not recognize the impact this change will have on airports.

It would be helpful if you coordinated with those persons at your airport that are responsible for your noise program.  Some of them may already be involved, having participated in the conference calls ACI-NA has convened.  But some airports have not provided any feedback and it is important that we have a comprehensive understanding of the impact of the draft PGL on our membership.  Please ensure that you coordinate with your airport representatives in providing information solicited in a survey on the draft PGL which is being distributed to U.S. airports this afternoon from Katherine Preston, ACI-NA Director, Environmental Affairs.

Information on the impact to your airport’s noise insulation program should be submitted to Katherine by May 28 so we can include that information in ACI-NA’s comments to FAA, which are due on May 31.  We are also encouraging ACI-NA airport members  to file individual comments on the draft PGL with FAA to ensure FAA is aware of the significant impact their proposal would have on U.S. airports. (Contact Katherine for submission information).

  • Presidential Executive Order 13610 on Identifying and Reducing Regulatory Burdens:

The May 14, 2012 Federal Register contains the attached Presidential Executive Order 13610 entitled, “Identifying and Reducing Regulatory Burdens”, which directs federal agencies to conduct periodic retrospective review of regulations to reduce unjustified regulatory burdens and costs.  Importantly, the Executive Order directs federal agencies to “give consideration to the cumulative effects of their own regulations, including cumulative burdens.”  In addition, federal agencies are to invite public suggestions about regulations in need of retrospective review and about appropriate modifications to such regulations.  Agencies must report semiannually on the status of their retrospective reviews.

Federal Register Link to Order:

  • FAA:   [Docket No. FAA–2011–0183] Access to Aircraft Situation Display to Industry (ASDI) and National Airspace System Status Information (NASSI) Data


The May 9, 2012 Federal Register contains a notice from the FAA setting forth its proposed process for aircraft owners and operators to limit the release of their aircraft data to the public via the Aircraft Situation Display to Industry.

Link to Federal Register notice:

On December 16, 2011, the FAA published a notice of an interim policy, instructing aircraft owners and operators on how they can limit the FAA’s dissemination of their aircraft data via the FAA’s ASDI program. The notice indicated that the FAA would later propose specific procedures by which aircraft owners and operators can in the future express their preference on the FAA’s release of their aircraft data to the public via ASDI. This document is the FAA’s proposal and the FAA’s invitation to the public to comment on any aspect of it. Until the FAA publishes a document that sets forth the FAA’s final decision on the ASDI blocking process, the FAA will continue to operate under the interim policy that the FAA described in the notice published in December 2011.

DATES: Any written information that responds to the FAA’s proposed procedures must be submitted by June 8, 2012.

FCC:  The attached FCC notice deals with the “OTARD” rule, which governs placement of certain antennas in leased space.  The Over the Air Receiving Devices rule preempts lease terms and building rules or policies banning the placement of direct broadcast satellite antennas and certain other kinds of antennas (e.g., WiFi hot spots) on leased property.  The FCC used this rule to ban Logan Airport’s attempt to regulate placement of WiFi facilities by Continental Airlines. 

 The rule also bans local government zoning restrictions on placement of antennas.  The satellite industry is now asking the FCC to amend the rule to address concerns that industry has raised regarding certain applications of the rule in the local government context.  A copy of the satellite industry’s petition is available at: 

If participation is warranted, comments will be due on June 7.  Please advise if you have questions or concerns.

Conferences and Events

  • Highlights and Presentations from the 2012 ACI-NA SPRING LEGAL AFFAIRS CONFERENCE, held April 25-28, 2012, featuring sessions on Wednesday and Thursday from the theme: “The ABCs of RFPs and Airport Procurement---Lessons from those who’ve been there and back,”  are available at:



  • The FBA’s Transportation and Transportation Security Law Section

Invites you to its May 2012 Lawyers Luncheon:

“FAA, TSA and NTSB Chief Counsels – Roundtable on Aviation”


The panel participants will include:

Kathryn B. Thomson, Chief Counsel, Federal Aviation Administration


Francine Kerner, Chief Counsel, Transportation Security Administration


Shannon Bennett, Assistant General Counsel, National Transportation Safety Board


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

12:00pm – 1:00 pm

Conference Room 8-9-10

1200 New Jersey Ave., SE

Washington, DC 20590


Bring your brown bag lunch—beverages and cookies are provided.

To register, please email Jenny Bosak at


Limited seating – Please register early

[Note:  A call in number will be provided upon registration for those who cannot attend in person].


May 23, 2012 - May 24, 2012

Washington, DC


June 4, 2012 - June 7, 2012

Sacramento, CA


  • Lambert Airport Hosts National Business Diversity Conference

Minority and Women-Owned Business Professionals is Focus of AMAC/FAA Conference June 9 in St. Louis

Lambert-St. Louis International Airport is hosting the aviation industry’s premier educational, training and business networking event for minority and women-owned business professionals. The 28th Annual Airport Minority Advisory Council (AMAC) /Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Airport Business Diversity Conference is scheduled for June 9 through June 12 at the America’s Center Convention Complex in downtown St. Louis.


This year's National Conference will place key decision makers face-to-face with minority and women-owned businesses vying for millions of dollars in airport and aviation contracts in areas of capital improvement and construction, concessions and professional services.

“We are bringing to the St. Louis region airport officials and leading corporate executives who have the power to award contracts at large airports in the cities of Atlanta, Los Angeles, Chicago, New York and more,” said AMAC Executive Director Shelby Scales. “These decision makers will be searching for companies that have the capabilities to also work in markets outside St. Louis.”


Registration is still open for attendees. The 4-day event also features the Annual Expo which allows airports and companies to showcase their services before more than 1,200 business and aviation corporate leaders from across the country.


July 16, 2012 - July 17, 2012

Grand Rapids, MI


If you have information of interest to share, forward it to me by COB on Thursday of each week.

  Send it to:

Have a great weekend!


Monica R. Hargrove
General Counsel

Direct: (202) 861-8088