The main obstacle, he says, is political. Traditionally, tenant operators have found success by getting aligned with the local political scene and learned how to work within the local political environment. The question, says Coyne, is can a large private equity-owned company sustain such a relationship?
Another key FBO/airport discussion centered around the Environ-mental Protection Agency’s ongoing evolvement of the Spill Prevention Control & Countermeasure (SPCC) policy. Nancy Young, an environmental attorney for Beveridge & Diamond, P.C., relates that EPA has backed off its hard stance regarding secondary containment for mobile refuelers, though more clear definition from the field is still anticipated. The bottom line at this point in time, says Young, is, “You don’t have to build something.”
On the issue of FAA’s Part 16 complaint process, Dan Reimer and David Bennett headed up a discussion on the progress of the regulation over its first decade and its true intent. Reimer is a partner with the law firm of Kaplan, Kirsh & Rockwell; Bennett is director of the FAA’s Airports Office.
The Part 16 process, explains Reimer, is where the “rubber meets the road” regarding disputes between airports and tenants. It’s an administrative enforcement program — in order to get to court, one has to first exhaust the Part 16 process, which can take a year or more, he says.
Advantages to filing a Part 16, says Reimer, include access to FAA expertise and review; a process that, for an agency, is fairly clear; and, a tenant puts the burden on the airport to prove its case. However, he says the disadvantages outweigh the advantages — the process takes too long; it doesn’t always resolve the dispute; it’s difficult to weed out how past determinations may or may not have set precedent.
FAA’s Bennett says the agency sees Part 16 as a “last minute mechanism” to resolve a dispute and encourages informal resolution. Central to success is having key issue well detailed; the FAA doesn’t have the personnel for on-site investigations, he says.
Bennett says some 164 Part 16 complaints have been filed to date, with 42 percent dismissed because they were incomplete, and 32 percent appealed to an associate advisor.
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