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Airport Actions in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, here’s what North America’s leading airports are doing to help ease the pain for concessionaires:

Atlanta, GA – Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport

  • The city of Atlanta suspended the minimum annual guarantee payment obligation for concessionaires and rental car companies at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) for a four-month period ending June 20. The city may extend the action for an additional 30-day period, “if the COVID-19 pandemic is still active and it is in the best interest of the city.” Once the emergency rental payment term expires, concessionaires will be required to resume normal rental payments.

Baltimore, MD – Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI)

  • Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI) has suspended its MAG from April 1 through December 31, 2020, switching instead to percentage rent. Certain other fees have been temporarily suspended by Fraport Maryland, the airport’s concessions developer. About 20 percent of concessions are currently in operation, with food and retail operations cut back based on public health guidelines, directives from the state and the reduction in traffic. The airport also has shared information from the state and federal government regarding opportunities for further assistance to operators, such as relief initiatives available from the state for employees and small businesses that are facing economic hardships. (Added April 25)

Calgary, AB – Calgary International Airport

  • Calgary International Airport (YYC) said it has worked with its partners to provide assistance, adjust their hours or temporarily close. The airport also is assisting airline and car rental partners by providing free parking for aircraft and vehicles. (Added 3/27/20)

Columbus, OH – John Glenn Columbus International Airport

  • In addition to increased cleaning protocols, John Glenn Columbus International Airport (CMH) continues to make food, drinks and travel essential available while also closing temporarily or modifying hours for retailers based on reduced passenger activity. Vending machines are available. The Columbus Regional Airport Authority has temporarily deferred the collection of MAG from terminal concessionaires through the end of May. At that time the decision will be re-evaluated. “We certainly understand and are concerned about the impacts we are all experiencing, including our concessionaire partners,” the airport said in an email. “Unfortunately, the authority is not in the position to waive or defer fixed rental payments at this time. Our hope is that we return to normal operations in the next few months. We are working with tenants individually to identify any potential relief opportunities.” (Added 3/27/20)

Costa Mesa, CA – John Wayne Airport

  • In consideration of the reduction in passenger volume at John Wayne Airport (SNA), the airport has reduced the hours of operation for airport concessionaires and reduced the number of open locations, while working to provide some food and beverage and retail in each terminal. The lease terms and conditions will remain the same for now. (Added 3/27/20)

Dallas, TX – Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport

  • Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) moved to ease pressures on duty free operators as early as the first week of March when it eliminated the minimum annual guarantee required in those contracts. Since then, AXN has learned the airport has altered at least some other leases. DFW issued this statement: “With the impacts to flights and passenger movement, DFW Airport is working with partners to identify what services and concessions options can and should continue to serve our customers during this time. We are assessing options to help our partners, including allowing them to pay a percentage of sales versus the minimum annual guarantee rent through the fiscal year ending September 30, 2020. We are communicating regularly with our partners to ensure the safety of both their customers and employees.”

Dallas, TX – Dallas Love Field

  • Dallas Love Field (DAL) has eliminated the MAG and is instead requiring concessionaires to pay percentage rent on sales. Concessionaires are operating on limited hours and, since March 17, the dining rooms in the sit-down restaurants have been closed in accordance with the city and county guidelines. The airport also moved tables at least six feet apart in the concessions village, which is all fast-food or grab-and-go. Some sit-down restaurants are doing to-go only and are able to sell alcohol provided that food is purchased with it.

Denver, CO – Denver International Airport

  • Denver International Airport (DEN) is eliminating the minimum guarantee requirement and instead collecting the percentage rent based on total monthly sales, an airport spokesperson said. The airport is also allowing concessionaires to reduce their hours or close, for those who feel it is not viable to stay open. “While each concession is facing a unique situation based on their own financials, we are focused on policies that are fair and available to all concessions,” spokesperson Emily Williams said in an email. “For our SBE and MWBE partners, we are working closely with Denver Economic Development and Opportunity to connect them to small business loans and grants.”
  • DEN has altered rent structures for concessionaires, rental car operators and airline partners in order to ease financial difficulties brought on by COVID-19. From April through June, the airport has waived the MAG, switching to percentage rent as outlined in their leases, with those partners also being able to defer three months of rent until later this year, according to spokeswoman Alex Renteria. The airport has frozen nonessential expenditures as part of its own cost reduction measures. The Great Hall renovation and gate expansion projects are continuing to move forward, to date, but all projects are still being analyzed. (Added April 13)

Detroit, MI – Detroit Metropolitan Airport

  • Detroit Metropolitan Airport (DTW), in compliance with Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s executive order, has temporarily suspended operations at all bars and spas within the McNamara and North Terminals. Restaurants are restricted to offering carry-out only, and are required to limit to five the number of people present at one time to pick up their food and beverage orders, while staying six feet away from others. Hours of operation for restaurants are being determined by the availability of staff and passenger demand. Retail operators may stay open or close at their discretion. Aid to concessionaires could come in the future. “Due to the ever-changing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, the financial relief WCAA may be able to provide to concessionaires has yet to be determined,” the airport said by email. “WCAA’s Concessions & Quality Assurance department is communicating daily with our concessionaires and will continue to do so as the situation evolves.”

Fort Lauderdale, FL – Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport

Kansas City, MO – Kansas City International Airport

  • Kansas City International Airport (MCI) has agreed to the following changes for its concessions operators:
    • Reduction of store locations.
    • Reduction in store operating hours.
    • Allow for payment of a percentage of gross sales rather than MAG fee during the consequential period. (Added 3/27/20)

Las Vegas, NV – McCarran International Airport

  • McCarren International Airport (LAS) is allowing for closures and temporary changes to the way concessions operate, be it reduced hours, staffing, etc. Right now, “we are focusing on the immediate operational needs and will be assessing space rent agreements as we move forward,” says spokeswoman Christine Crews.

Los Angeles, CA – Los Angeles International Airport

  • Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) is foremost focused on the safety and wellbeing of all employees and passengers. However, LAWA also understands the need to review the operational and economic impacts of COVID-19 on the entire airport as a whole. LAWA has set up multiple task forces to address the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic, including a Concessions Task Force. LAWA is actively working to present recommendations to the Board of Airport Commissioners (BOAC), but needs to make sure any relief or accommodation provided is done in a way that is fair and reasonable to everyone impacted. As a large operation, the airport has an enormous variety of contracts. Due to the dramatic reduction in the number of guests coming to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), some concessions and retail stores have amended hours or have closed temporarily, though food and retail options remain available in all terminals. Finally, any relief ultimately provided to our partners here will be done through a BOAC approved action.
  • Concessionaire partners at LAX will pay percentage rents rather than a minimum annual guarantee from April 1 through June 30. Those percentage rents can be deferred until July 1 through December 31 of this year in equal installments, according to a Los Angeles World Airports Board resolution. At least one concession is open in each terminal, but more than two-thirds were closed, as of April 9. The board also agreed to revise payment terms for non-concessionaire rental car services and created an airline relief program through which eligible carriers can apply for deferred payment of terminal use fees. (Added April 25)

Miami, FL – Miami International Airport

  • Miami International Airport (MIA) has allowed concessionaires to temporarily close some locations or reduce their hours of operation – and in the case of dining locations, reduce their menus – while still maintaining concession service in each concourse for the reduced numbers of passengers traveling. The airport is considering various forms of relief for the concessionaires and is taking into consideration how similar airports are responding. Ultimately, any recommendation by the Aviation Department must be approved by Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez and the Board of County Commissioners before it can be implemented.
  • At MIA, some shops and restaurants have modified their hours of operation or temporarily closed. Concession services remain available for all scheduled flights. Dining locations and airline lounges are restricted to 50 percent capacity and social distancing measures have been implemented. Standalone bars have been closed until further notice. A directory of the hours of operation and closures at shops and restaurants can be found at shopmiamiairport.com or on Twitter at @ShopsatMIA. (Added 4/2/20)
  • On April 7, the Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners approved a relief plan providing assistance to airlines, concessionaires, car rental companies, cargo handlers, fixed based operators, general aeronautical service permittees and other tenants of the airport system in financial distress. The plan, which covers from March 1, 2020 through May 31, 2020, offers a grand total of $64.8 million in relief through three forms: the deferral of monthly rent payments and other charges for passenger and cargo airlines and ancillary businesses, with interest charged on deferrals extending beyond MIA’s annual reporting period; the waiver of MAG payments and other related fees for operators contracted to pay rent on a percentage of gross revenues; and, for all other concessionaires, car rental companies and operators, the waiver of MAG monthly payments and other related fees while still requiring payments based on a percentage of gross revenues. The authority was granted the option of extending those terms for an additional three months. (Added April 25)

Milwaukee, WI – Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport

  • No decisions have been made at this time. It is under review. (Added 3/27/20)

Minneapolis, MN – Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport

  • Staff at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP) has been authorized by the Metropolitan Airports Commission to “evaluate and, if in the best interest of the Commission, grant full or partial waivers of minimum annual guarantees for the period March 1, 2020, through June 30, 2020, for any or all parties operating under concession agreements with the MAC.” Airport officials are in the process of developing eligibility parameters for relief, marking the first step in deciding to whom such waivers will apply and the amount that will be waived.

Montreal, QC – Montreal-Trudeau International Airport

  • Following the Québec government’s new recommendations to limit the spread of COVID-19, many stores at Montreal-Trudeau International Airport (YUL) are temporarily closed. The airport said only some restaurants offering take-out food or stores that act as convenience stores will remain open for the time being, some with restricted hours of operations. YUL has been designated by the government of Canada as one of four Canadian airports authorized to receive aircraft from overseas. (Added 3/27/20)

Nashville, TN – Nashville International Airport

  • During this time, hours and availability of concessions at Nashville International Airport (BNA) vary and are subject to change. “We continue to explore options and monitor these challenges,” says spokeswoman Kym Gerlock. (Added 3/27/20)

Orlando, FL – Orlando International Airport

  • Bars at Orlando International Airport (MCO) are required to halt sales of alcoholic beverages, in line with an order from Mayor Buddy Dyer that applies throughout the city. Per an executive order by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, restaurants can sell alcohol for on-site consumption but must limit their occupancy to 50 percent of current building occupancy, ensure at least a 6-foot distance between any groups of patrons and limit parties to no more than 10. MCO said other concessionaires, including shops and food vendors, “continue to work with Orlando International leaders to determine possibly changing operating hours or suspending service as a result of a decrease in passenger demand.”
  • MCO approved the limited deferral of $17 million in “specified payments due May 2020” with a promise to consider further actions at upcoming board meetings. CEO Phil Brown called it the first step in trying to provide some relief moving forward. (Added April 25)

Ottawa, ON – Macdonald- Cartier International Airport

  • Ottawa International Airport (YOW) is assessing needs on a case by case basis. “We value all our concession partners and we are working with each of them to best accommodate their needs as the impact of COVID-19 continues to impact the global economy,” says airports spokeswoman Krista Kealey.

Philadelphia, PA – Philadelphia International Airport

  • Philadelphia International Airport (PHL)is “in the process of assessing the complex COVID-19 situation, while interpreting and complying with multiple competing mandates from various governmental entities,” an airport spokesperson said. The airport’s website notes that “the more than 170 PHL food and shops will right-size their terminal offerings to accommodate adjusted passenger volume levels. Food, drinks and travel essentials will continue to be available within each terminal.” The website lists 24 concessions locations open through Monday, March 30, and notes that other may be open at the operator’s discretion.

Phoenix, AZ – Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport

  • At Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX), all restaurants and shops pre-security were shut down as of close of business March 20 to comply with the governor’s directive and due to low demand. Shops post-security are open on a limited basis. Restaurants post-security are serving food for take-out only, in order to comply with the governor’s directive. According to the airport, many concessions operators are cutting hours due to a dramatic decrease in demand.

Portland, OR – Portland International Airport

  • Portland International Airport (PDX) has eliminated minimum annual guarantees for food and beverage, retail and terminal services, switching to a percentage of sales rent only “for the time being,” airport spokesperson Kama Simonds said. PDX is also allowing adjusted hours at the operators’ discretion. Airport sit-down restaurants have closed in compliance with a statewide order, but counter-service restaurants, grab-and-go services and coffee stands are considered takeout and can remain open. Several specialty retail stores in the airport have closed.

Salt Lake City, UT – Salt Lake City International Airport

  • Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC) is waiving the minimum annual guarantee requirements through June 30, 2020, instead charging operators a percentage of gross sales. Also, some shops and restaurants have reduced hours or have closed.

San Diego, CA – San Diego International Airport

  • At San Diego International Airport (SAN), some concessionaires have temporarily closed due to a decrease in passenger traffic, while others have curtailed their operating hours. The airport said it has been communicating with concessionaires on the steps that the Airport Authority is taking to limit the spread of COVID-19.

San Francisco, CA – San Francisco International Airport

  • San Francisco International Airport (SFO) is offering the forbearance of rent and fees to concessionaires, according to public information officer Doug Yakel. The Airport Commission approved a lease modification for the airport’s duty-free operator, DFS Group, to allow a temporary suspension of the minimum annual guarantee and an adjustment of the base rent calculation for the remainder of this year.

San Jose, CA – Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport

  • Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport (SJC) has worked with its operators to reduce operating hours at concession locations and close select concessions to align with current flight activity while balancing the needs for service for passengers. The airport said it will continue to work closely with our concessions operators to evaluate further options as the situation evolves.(Added 3/27/20)

Seattle, WA – Seattle-Tacoma International Airport

  • At Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA), airport officials are “in close communication with tenants during this evolving crisis and reviewing opportunities to allay the negative impacts to their bottom lines,” the airport says. At least 15 concessions locations have closed temporarily. SEA said most airport dining and retail tenants are open for business but with reduced operating hours and food service. Restaurants are limited to grab-and-go and food orders to-go.
  • The Port of Seattle Commission approved a short-term emergency financial relief package for airport-based businesses, barring evictions of tenants at Port of Seattle facilities due to an inability to pay rent through June 30, 2020 and authorizing the executive director to provide additional immediate relief to Port tenants. The package for airport-based businesses includes a two-month deferral of rent and fees for airport tenants and concessionaires facing a severe collapse of economic activity due to COVID-19 travel restrictions. The Port will review information from tenants and concessionaires to assess the impacts of the pandemic before considering an extension for an additional two months. (Added 4/2/20)

Toronto, ON – Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport

  • On March 20, Porter Airlines, Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport’s (YTZ) main airline, temporarily suspended commercial operations in order to support the need to flatten the curve of the COVID-19 spread. The airline hopes to resume operations in June 2020. Air Canada has also announced suspension of service from March 28 to May 4. Billy Bishop Airport is currently operating on a reduced basis to accommodate FBO’s for charter flights and to maintain access for Ornge emergency Medevac service. “Given that there are few passengers using the airport during this time, the majority of concessions have temporarily suspended operations,” the airport said. As for Out-of-Home (OOH) advertising within the airport, YTZ said its sales team is working with clients to make accommodations, with many advertisers opting to defer or extend their campaigns for a few months.
  • Steps taken by YYZ to work with business partners include amending hours of operations at some locations and closing others, removing or stanchioning off seating at all quick service restaurants where takeaway is currently the only option, assisting with physical distancing with signage and markers on the floor, and providing staff with daily retraining on hand washing. Greater Toronto Airport Authority staff indicates that contracts with partners are confidential and declined to provide information about rent. (Added 4/2/20)

Vancouver BC – Vancouver International Airport

  • Vancouver International Airport (YVR) has introduced a payment deferral program to provide immediate support to more than 250 business partners, from commercial operators to airlines and ground transportation operators to property lease holders. CEO Craig Richmond, in a blog post at the airport’s website, acknowledged the evolving nature of the situation and promised to do everything possible to face the challenges related to COVID-19, including evaluating the possibility of additional support, depending on the airport’s financial condition and how long the situation lasts.

Washington, D.C. – Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority

Winnipeg, MB – James Armstrong Richardson International Airport