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Concession Contracts Under Scrutiny In AAAE Program

The American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE), through its Airport Consortium on Customer Trust (ACT) Program, has released a new catalog of key business terms and standard provisions for use in airport concessions contracts. AAAE said the new product will benefit airport managers throughout the United States regardless of airport size, location, or organizational structure.

Led by U.S. airport chief financial officers, Steer, EY Infrastructure Advisors, and Kaplan Kirsch & Rockwell, the ACT Working Group on Financial Innovations sought to provide sufficient context and background to allow airport decision makers to interact with their business partners more effectively and explore the best alternatives and contractual structures for their specific airport.

“Increasingly, airport leaders need to be collaborative across the industry to address our challenges,” said Philadelphia International Airport CEO Atif Saeed, A.A.E, IAP. “Our partnership with AAAE, industry, thought-leaders, and like-minded airports through the ACT program has been invaluable. It provides us with an opportunity to pilot innovation, create standards, and explore sustainable ways to reimagine the airport experience together. The work produced here is an example of this collaborative thought leadership.”

The working group sought to provide airport leaders a primer for discussions with existing and future concessionaire partners, including identifying some of the key business drivers of airport concessions and emerging trends in the industry. The document reflects the fact that each airport’s position will be unique and require consideration of historical precedents, local market influences, legal and commercial legacy agreements, consumer preferences, and market demand. The research reflects recent changes in the contracting environment since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and highlights preliminary lessons learned. It also provides a forward-looking view as the industry continues to return and as passenger traffic and the health of the industry improves.

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