Airports are now infrastructure companies with specialised and commercial property holdings and require a range of commercial, financial, construction, property and resource management advice
Multifaceted legal requirements
As in other developed countries, airport businesses in New Zealand have been turned into companies and ownership of the major international airports has diversified into mixed private and local government shareholding as well as mixed central government and local government shareholding.
Airports operate under airport-specific regulation and, in the case of airport companies, information disclosure under the Commerce Act. They are also subject to further regulation such as oversight of charges.
Clients and services
Buddle Findlay provides legal services to major international airports and regional airports in New Zealand and has developed specific airport industry knowledge and expertise to service all facets of airports’ legal requirements. We provide a range of airports and clients with interests in airports with:
- Advice on the special regulatory environment for airports comprising the Airport Authorities Act, consultation processes for setting landing changes, regulation of joint-venture airports under the Civil Aviation Act, civil air safety and aviation security regulation, border controls and land use regulation under the Resource Management Act and the Public Works Act
- Advice on information disclosure and economic regulation under the Commerce Act
- Advice and drafting of contracts relating to airport services, major equipment supply such as fire tenders, and the purchase of services such as the bulk purchase of telecommunications and electricity
- Advice on property and construction requirements of airports, including aeronautical land leases, terminal leases (including commercial concessions and licences) airport construction and maintenance contracts, tendering of rental car, taxi and other concessions for transport operators at airports.
- Advising Wellington International Airport on commercial property leases and acquisition of land for aeronautical purposes
- Advising Infratil on the government's possible disposal of Whenuapai Airbase and use for commercial airport operations
- Acting for Treasury in the sale of the Crown’s shareholding in Auckland International Airport, including related due diligence
- Advising Wellington International Airport on 2 rounds of consultations under the Airport Authorities Act with its airline customers on its proposed charges for aeronautical services, and its decision to set new charges. We acted on subsequent judicial reviews brought by Air New Zealand and actions by Wellington International Airport to recover unpaid charges. The first consultation round included representing the company at an arbitration with the major airlines regarding asset valuation methodologies for the company’s aeronautical assets
- Acting for Wellington International Airport in the Commerce Commission’s price control study of airfield activities and in its 5-yearly pricing consultations with major airlines. The study involved the preparation of submissions to the Commission, representation of the airport company at a Commission conference and assistance with submissions to the Minister of Commerce and the Ministry of Economic Development on the Commission’s final report
- Representing Wellington International Airport in its actions against a major airline for recovery of unpaid landing charges and the airline’s counterclaim for judicial review of the airport company’s consultation process on landing charges up to the settlement of all litigation issues
- Advising Wellington International Airport on the Commerce Commission’s consideration of applications by Air New Zealand and Qantas Airways for approval of restrictive trade practices and shareholding in Air New Zealand including assisting in the preparation of the company’s individual detailed submission and cross submission on these applications
- Advising Christchurch International Airport on a wide range of commercial and property matters, including the leasing of aeronautical and non-aeronautical land and buildings, construction contracts and property acquisition and divestment
- Advising regional airports on a variety of regulatory issues, including consultation with airlines customers on aeronautical charges, powers of airport authorities and on issues under the Civil Aviation Act