A significant portion of the firm's aviation practice involves aircraft transactions. The firm represents airlines, banks, export credit agencies, private individuals, corporate operators, financial institutions and leasing companies in structuring, negotiating and documenting a wide variety of transactions. These have included finance and operating leases, numerous other forms of aircraft financings, aircraft sales agreements, charter and management agreements, and various forms of joint operating agreements.
An additional asset which the firm brings to the table in any aircraft transaction is an extensive background on aviation regulatory matters. Often, the policies of the U.S. and other governments on particular aviation issues-such as citizenship requirements, route swaps, wet-or dry-leases, slot transferability, noise standards, tax implications or aging aircraft-will have a critical bearing on aircraft transactions. Our familiarity with these regulatory issues strengthens our transactional capabilities:
The firm represented an airline in negotiating one of the first multi-national asset-based finance lease transactions involving export credit agencies from two countries. The transaction, which involved the formation of a special purpose French groupement d'interet economique (GIE) to serve as owner-lessor, presented significant cross-border enforcement and taxation issues.
Master Limited Partnerships
The firm advised an equipment leasing company on the formation of the first publicly-traded master limited partnership to register aircraft in a transaction involving the sale and leaseback of five DC-9 aircraft. The firm also assisted the client in restructuring other ownership arrangements to allow significant (i.e., up to 25 percent) foreign investment in U.S.-registered aircraft.
The firm has represented various lessors and lessees in negotiating and documenting numerous operating lease transactions, ranging from fairly straightforward short-term leases to more complicated joint venture arrangements.
The firm is one of a select number of legal counselors that has been retained to represent the Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank), the export credit agency of the United States of America, in aircraft financing transactions. In the past several years, the firm has represented Ex-Im Bank in cross-border transactions involving the financing of more than 100 large commercial aircraft. In recent years, the firm has represented Ex-Im Bank in transactions involving airlines based in Turkey, the Netherlands, Indonesia, Ireland, Norway, Austria, Kenya, Luxembourg, Uzbekistan and Thailand.
The firm has advised a major investment bank in structuring the first "collateralized" financing involving landing slots at certain high density airports. The firm also has represented a major European bank in negotiating and documenting the financing of a corporate jet in a transaction valued at $11 million.
The firm has represented various airlines and financial institutions in sale/leaseback transactions involving fifteen aircraft with an aggregate value in excess of $150 million.
The firm has represented various financing parties and U.S. and foreign air carriers in connection with the purchase and sale of aircraft.
The firm has represented various owners and operators in the purchase, sale, financing of business aircraft as well as the operational issues that surround corporate aviation. These engagements often include all aspects of acquisition, ownership and operating structures, engaging professional management and charter companies, tax planning and a wide variety of commercial agreements.
Our attorneys have assisted clients in the purchase and sale of fractional interests in buseinss aircraft from all of the major fractional ownership programs.