All Systems Go

When airlines threatened Seattle’s airport with costly “rocket docket” litigation, A&K helped the Port find a way forward.

When the Port of Seattle sought to negotiate a new lease with the airlines serving Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, its hub carrier, Alaska Airways, rejected the Port’s proposal. In an unprecedented move, Alaska demanded that the Port set rates by local regulation.

Airlines can challenge such “rates by resolution” through a little-used federal law – nick-named the “rocket docket.” The law allows for expedited Department of Transportation review of airline rates and charges: rocket docket proceedings last only 120 days – from complaint, discovery and motions, to trial. Rocket docket cases are expensive and time-consuming and often produce surprising results.

But it so happens that Anderson & Kreiger has the most experienced team in the country on airport rates and charges and airport-airline agreements. We have participated in most of the major rocket docket proceedings and have drafted and negotiated a large number of local rate regulations and airport-airline agreements.

For the Port of Seattle, we quickly assembled a team of industry experts who gave our client the tools and confidence to resist Alaska’s pressure – and the leverage to negotiate a new lease that serves the interests of both the Port and the airlines well.

Litigation avoided, deal done.

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