Airport Law

Gatzke Dillon & Ballance LLP has developed a reputation for effectively handling complex airport planning, environmental, regulatory and litigation matters before local, state, and federal administrative and judicial forms. The firm has developed strong working relationships with numerous clients, including: San Diego International Airport; John Wayne Airport, Orange County; Long Beach Airport; Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport; Greater Cincinnati International Airport; Lake Tahoe Airport; Kahului Airport, Maui; Lihue Airport, Kauai; French Valley Airport, Riverside; San Bernardino International Airport, San Bernardino; and numerous general aviation airports located in California.

The firm's representation has included advising airports on legal matters pertaining to airline access and regulatory issues; advising on all state and federal laws, regulations, Federal Aviation Administration ("FAA") orders and advisory circulars and other federal laws and regulations, including compliance with the Airport Noise and Capacity Act of 1990; representing airports before local, state and federal judicial and administrative bodies concerning the operation of airports; and advising airports on compliance with CEQA and NEPA, and other applicable environmental laws and regulations involving noise, air quality, traffic and other environmental quality issues.

A significant part of the firm's work in the airport area involves the preparation and review of airport land use compatibility plans ("ALUCPs") and environmental reports, statements, studies, and other technical or regulatory documents that are used in compliance with NEPA, CEQA, federal and state Endangered Species Acts, federal Clean Water Act, and other federal and state laws and regulations. The firm's specific planning and litigation experience on airport matters includes:
  • Airport Master Plans
  • Airport Land Use Commission issues
  • Airport Land Use Compatibility Plans
  • CEQA and NEPA documentation
  • Variances from the California noise standards
  • Airline access and regulatory issues
  • Sound insulation programs
  • Airport noise regulation and compliance matters
  • Federal and state airport regulatory issues
  • Airport layout plans
  • Traffic and noise issues
  • Capacity and facility improvements
  • Base closure and conversion of military facilities to civilian uses
  • Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act issues
  • National Historic Preservation Act matters
  • Endangered Species Act issues
  • CERCLA issues
  • Revenue report and study/general fund issues
  • Airline lease issues
The lawyers in the airport practice group have experience successfully defending the firm's clients in litigation involving the substantive areas of the law listed above. This experience places the lawyers in a unique position to provide insights and perspective on how best to prepare environmental and regulatory documentation to withstand legal challenges in an airport setting.

The firm's airport practice group closely monitors international, federal, state and local regulations concerning air quality issues, including global climate change, in order to evaluate the extent to which those regulations impact airports and aircraft. In light of the significant legal issues associated with the regulation of emissions from the aviation sector at the state and local level, the firm's attorneys currently work with various clients to actively assess and comment on California's developing regulatory framework, particularly as that framework relates to the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, also known as AB 32.