Aviation represents one of the most dynamic and challenging economic sectors in the domestic and international economy, and environmental and sustainability issues are among its most important priorities. B&D's longstanding presence in the airline industry enables us to craft strategies that not only succeed legally but also advance the business goals of our aviation clients.

Home to Airlines for America (A4A)’s most recent Vice President for Environmental Affairs, we have represented the commercial aviation industry’s principal trade association A4A for over 30 years, as well as individual passenger and cargo carriers, and aerospace companies, on environmental, health, and safety regulatory and litigation matters that arise under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Federal Aviation Regulations, the Federal Aviation Act (FAA), the Airport Noise and Capacity Act, the International Civil Aviation Organization, and the Chicago Convention.

We have experience with the unique and significant aspects of airport agreements; aircraft and airport operations; facility access and cargo security screening; underground storage tanks; aboveground storage tanks; hydrant systems; hazardous materials handling and waste disposal; aircraft noise regulation; aircraft emissions and fuel regulations; and matters involving the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) compliance. B&D is also well-versed in OSHA worker health and safety issues related to cargo facilities and FAA/OSHA policies related to airport operations and worker safety. More recently, we have addressed worker health issues involving disinfection and viral and pathogen exposures, including COVID-related disinfection and airport-specific COVID-related mandates.

Our litigation work involves FAA and EPA rulemaking challenges, intervention in actions to uphold airport Environmental Impact Statement decisions and to support favorable FAA rulemakings and other agency actions, takings and nuisance issues related to aircraft operations, and federal preemption actions under the FAA, the Airline Deregulation Act, and the Airport Improvement Act.

As primary outside environmental counsel for A4A we have provided ongoing advice on the key environmental issues for the industry, handled environmental litigation and rulemaking challenges, prepared formal comments on all aspects of the environmental regulatory regimes that govern the aviation sector, prepared advocacy submissions to key agencies, represented the interests of the airline industry in numerous formal and informal regulatory contexts, and worked on issues related to compliance and enforcement.

Representative Matters

Our airline experience includes:

  • Successfully defended ten airlines in a takings and nuisance action premised on noise claims arising from aircraft operations at a major airport. A number of property owners in the areas adjacent to the airport brought a takings action based on the flight paths of air carriers who provided scheduled service to the airport. B&D filed a motion on behalf of the carriers to dismiss that action on preemption grounds which was successful and resulted in the dismissal of the claims.
  • On behalf of the airline industry, successfully challenged state regulation of air emissions on preemption grounds under Section 209 of the Clean Air Act. B&D also represented the industry in a successful defense of a challenge to the Section 231 emission standards for aircraft.
  • Representing the airline industry in the negotiation of a memorandum of understanding as an alternative to rulemaking under the Clean Air Act.
  • Representing the airline industry in its successful efforts to introduce environmental streamlining for purposes of NEPA review of new runway construction.
  • Successfully defending FAA regulations governing the proper application of noise models to various types of aircraft operations.