Drew M. Derco



Drew Derco counsels U.S. and foreign airlines on aviation regulatory and policy matters before a number of federal agencies, including the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Transportation Security Administration (TSA), National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), and Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (CBP). He handles all phases of the airline start-up process and assists foreign airlines with the launch of U.S. service, both for first time entrants into the U.S. marketplace and for existing carriers already serving the U.S. He also assists U.S. and foreign carrier clients in obtaining permit, exemption, and code-share authority from DOT’s Office of International Aviation and negotiates airport lease and use agreements.

Drew specializes in providing practical and creative solutions for clients and offers broad based experience with DOT’s Consumer Protection regime and its regulation prohibiting discrimination against passengers with disabilities in air travel (Part 382). He also advises clients on numerous other U.S. and international regulatory compliance issues, including legislation, compliance with Office of Foreign Asset Controls sanctions, import/export controls, antitrust, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the transportation of hazardous materials, and cargo security matters. In addition, he supports clients in preparing for and defending litigation, investigations, audits, and major enforcement actions before DOT, TSA, and CBP.

Drew is actively involved with the American Bar Association’s Forum on Air & Space Law, serving on the Scholarship Committee and as the organization’s co-membership chair.  

Prior to joining the firm, he advised members of the defense industry on both domestic and international regulatory compliance issues, licensing, and import/export controls. 






Representative Matters

  • Successfully defended several foreign carrier clients in Department of Transportation enforcement actions for alleged violations of DOT’s tarmac delay rule at multiple U.S. airports, including Washington-Dulles International Airport and John F. Kennedy International Airport. In each of the applicable cases, DOT completed its investigation without issuance of a penalty.
  • Assisted numerous new entrant carriers in initiating passenger service to the U.S. market, including operations to New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport, Washington-Dulles International Airport, San Francisco International Airport, Los Angeles International Airport, and Miami International Airport.
  • Assisted European carrier in complex negotiations with a U.S. airport authority concerning the client’s alleged overpayment of service provider fees, obligation to hold leasehold space, and other contractual obligations related to the client’s operations to destination.
  • Filed comments to DOT Notice of Proposed Rulemaking “Transparency of Airline Ancillary Fees and Other Consumer Protection Issues” on behalf of several foreign carrier clients.
  • Assisted passenger carrier in complex review and analysis of the Airport Use and Lease Agreement to determine whether airline should continue serving applicable market.
  • Provide routine advice to clients on numerous Part 382 compliance issues, as well as on compliance with DOT consumer protection rules and proper procedures for responding to consumer complaints.
  • Conducted in-depth initial and recurrent training on DOT’s disability regulation, 14 C.F.R. Part 382 for several European and Asian carriers.

Professional Affiliations

  • Virginia Bar Association
  • Virginia Young Lawyers Conference
  • American Bar Association Forum on Air & Space Law, Co-Membership Chair, Scholarship Committee Member, and Former Young Lawyer Liaison

News Releases:

Eckert Seamans announces attorney promotions for 2017

Awards and Recognition:

  • Selected for inclusion in 2016 edition of Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business as an “Associate to Watch in Transportation: Aviation: Regulatory”
  • Selected for inclusion in the Legal Media Group Expert Guide: Rising Stars 2015, 2016 (Aviation)
  • Selected for inclusion in Washington D.C. Super Lawyers – Rising Star


Spotlight on . . . Drew Derco

Aviation Regulatory Update January 2017

Aviation Regulatory Update December 2016

Aviation Regulatory Update November 2016

Aviation Regulatory Update October 2016

Aviation Regulatory Update September 2016

Aviation Regulatory Update August 2016

Aviation Regulatory Update July 2016

Aviation Regulatory Update June 2016

Aviation Regulatory Update: May 2016

Aviation Regulatory Update: March 2016

Aviation Regulatory Update: February 2016

Airlines Need Protections Too

News and Insights

Speaking Engagements:

  • Panelist, “The Shifting Security Landscape at Airports after Terrorist Attacks in the Non-Secure Areas,” International Air Transport Association’s Legal Symposium 2017, Washington, D.C., January 2017.
  • “Aviation & Transportation Infrastructure: Performance & Prospects,” 2017 Legislative Forum, State Capital Group, Washington, D.C., January 2017.
  • U.S. DOT Compliance Training for European airline, Las Vegas, February 2017.


  • “Negotiated Rulemaking in the Context of Part 382: A Worthy Alternative to Traditional Rulemaking or an Impossible Dream?” co-author, The Air & Space Lawyer, Volume 29, Number 2, 2016.
  • “Licensing Requirements for U.S. and Foreign Air Carriers,” co-author, Aviation Regulation in the United States (ABA Book Publishing, 2014).
  • “Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability in Air Travel,” co-author, Aviation Regulation in the United States (ABA Book Publishing, 2014).
  • “Airlines Need Protections Too,” co-author, The Air & Space Lawyer, Volume 25, Number 1, 2013.
  • “ATF Ruling 2010-10: ATF’s Evolving Policy on Firearms Manufacturing,” Small Arms Review, May 2011.
  • Contributor to Eckert Seamans’ Aviation Blog (http://blog.aviation.eckertseamans.com/).


Drew’s personal interests include travel, reading, food and wine, and golf.