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Aviation Practice

For more than 60 years, Debevoise has been at the forefront of the global aviation industry, representing airlines and other industry participants in the full range of aviation-related transactions. One of our key strengths is our ability to handle complex projects with multi-disciplinary teams of finance, bankruptcy, securities, tax, litigation, private fund, financial products and M&A lawyers, as necessary. We have a leading practice in the raising of public and private capital on behalf of airlines, with a long track record of developing innovative financing techniques for the airline industry. We take particular pride in our ability to structure and implement the most demanding projects in each of our practice areas, such as representing:

  • American Airlines and its parent, American Airlines Group (formerly AMR Corporation), in their 2011-2013 Chapter 11 proceedings, which involved the restructuring of financing arrangements for more than 400 aircraft, generating in excess of $1.8 billion of savings, and the raising of more than $9 billion of new financing, a restructuring honored by Turnarounds & Workouts as one of a dozen “Successful Restructurings - 2013”;
  • American International Group in the sale of ILFC to AerCap Holdings N.V. for $7.6 billion, consisting of $3 billion in cash and a 46% interest in AerCap;
  • American Airlines in its $2.2 billion 2013-2 EETC secured by 75 Boeing aircraft, a transaction awarded the Airline Economics Aviation 100 “2014 Debt Deal of the Year” award;
  • Gogo Inc., the world’s leading provider of in-flight connectivity, in its $187 million initial public offering of common stock and in its $248 million senior secured term loan facility;
  • American Airlines in its $1.9 billion term loan and $1 billion revolving credit facility secured by certain route authorities, slots and rights to use or occupy space in airport terminals that American uses to operate international passenger service between the United States and South America, a transaction awarded the Airline Economics Aviation 100 “2014 Restructuring Deal of the Year” award;
  • The Schipol-controlled project company in the financing, construction and operation of the $2+ billion Terminal 4 at JFK International Airport, including the issuance of two series of tax-exempt bonds, recent expansion projects and an anchor-tenant agreement with Delta; and
  • Sukhoi Civil Aircraft Company in its joint venture with Alenia Aeronatica (a division of Finmeccanica) for the manufacture, distribution and technical support of the Sukhoi Superjet 100.

Our clients include leading airlines around the world, such as Aeroflot, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, JetBlue Airways and Spirit Airlines, equipment manufacturers, such as Cessna, Gogo, Rolls Royce and Sukhoi Civil Aircraft Company, and other aviation sector participants, such as ILFC.

Our practice spans a broad array of disciplines, including:

FINANCE & CAPITAL MARKETS

  • Aircraft, engine and spare parts financing transactions, including operating, leveraged, cross-border and multi-tiered leases, mortgage financings, manufacturer financings, pre-delivery payment financings and export credit agency financings.
  • Representation of airline issuers in more than twenty EETC offerings, in the aggregate financing or refinancing more than 440 new and vintage aircraft and raising more than $13 billion of proceeds. These EETC financings run the gamut of structural variations, including mortgage and leveraged lease debt, fixed and floating rate, prefunded and wrapped EETCs.
  • Airline equity, convertible notes and other secured and unsecured debt securities and syndicated lending transactions, including those involving non-aircraft collateral such as route authorities, slots and gate leaseholds.
  • Russian and CIS aviation matters, including many of the most important Russian aircraft acquisition, manufacturing and financing projects.

RESTRUCTURINGS & WORKOUTS

  • Airline fleet restructurings and refinancings (including the Chapter 11 and out-of-court restructurings of American Airlines and Delta Air Lines).
  • Creditor representation in airline restructurings.

MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS

  • Formation of joint ventures, buying and selling of aviation industry businesses and other M&A activities on behalf of manufacturers, leasing companies and airlines.
  • Investments in all segments of the global aviation industry by private equity firms, pension funds and other financial sponsors.
  • Representation of airlines, lessors and other financing parties, on acquisitions and dispositions of aircraft and related assets, including in connection with airline M&A transactions.
  • Representation of aircraft, engine and equipment manufacturers in the negotiation of various commercial agreements.

FLEET TRANSACTIONS

  • Aircraft purchase agreements and related agreements on behalf of airlines, leasing companies and manufacturers, including the negotiation of delay provisions, liquidated damages and other remedies; fleet guarantees, warranties and other customer support; and manufacturer financing, including American Airlines’ 2013 purchase agreements entered into concurrently with Embraer and Bombardier, to purchase 90 regional jets with options to purchase up to 130 more, and its backstop financing arrangements with respect to the 90 firm deliveries.

BUSINESS JETS

  • Purchases and financings of new and used business jets of all sizes on behalf of purchasers, including European, North American and South American corporations and investment funds.
  • Commercial arrangements among business jet owners, operators and maintenance providers.

AIRPORT INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT & FINANCING

  • Representation of project companies, bidding consortia and airlines in airport terminal development and expansion projects and airport privatizations.
  • Negotiation and documentation of long-term lease and concession arrangements for the use and operation of airport facilities.
  • Structuring financing solutions for airport development projects, including tax-exempt bonds.

LITIGATION

  • Airline litigation matters, including litigation arising out of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and litigation in connection with airline bankruptcies.
Key Contact(s):
Andrew L. Bab
Partner, New York T: +1 212 909 6323
F: +1 212 521 7323
Jasmine Ball
Partner, New York T: +1 212 909 6845
F: +1 212 521 7845
Craig A. Bowman
Partner, New York T: +1 212 909 6633
F: +1 212 909 6836
Paul D. Brusiloff
Partner, New York T: +1 212 909 6015
F: +1 212 521 7015
T: +1 212 935 3538
Geoffrey P. Burgess
Partner, London T: +44 20 7786 9075
F: +44 20 7588 4180
John T. Curry III
Partner, New York T: +1 212 909 6351
F: +1 212 521 7351
Richard F. Hahn
Partner, New York T: +1 212 909 6235
F: +1 212 521 7236
Gregory V. Gooding
Partner, New York T: +1 212 909 6870
F: +1 212 521 7870
Alan V. Kartashkin
Partner, Moscow T: +7 495 139 4004
F: +7 495 956 3868
T: +7 495 956 3858
Le V. Lam
Counsel, New York T: +1 212 909 6505
F: +1 212 521 8705
Ivan E. Mattei
Partner, New York T: +1 212 909 6060
F: +1 212 909 6836
Maura Kathleen Monaghan
Partner, New York T: +1 212 909 7459
F: +1 212 521 7759
Burt Rosen
Partner, New York T: +1 212 909 6781
F: +1 212 521 7781
Jeffrey J. Rosen
Partner, New York T: +1 212 909 6281
F: +1 212 909 6836
Robert J. Staffaroni
Partner, New York T: +1 212 909 6365
F: +1 212 521 7365
Darius Tencza
Retired Partner, New York T: +1 212 909 6506
F: +1 212 521 7506
My Chi To
Partner, New York T: +1 212 909 7425
F: +1 212 521 7425
Jaeyong So
Counsel, New York T: +1 212 909 6809
F: +1 212 521 7809
Raymond G. Wells
Counsel, New York T: +1 212 909 6428
F: +1 212 521 7228
Michael E. Wiles
Partner, New York T: +1 212 909 6653
F: +1 212 521 7653
Philipp von Holst
International Counsel, Frankfurt T: +49 69 2097 5211
F: +49 69 20 97 55 55

PRACTICE HIGHLIGHTS
Debevoise is “unquestionably second to none” in representing airlines.

THE LEGAL 500 US 

The group is “one of the country’s finest and deserving the highest praise for its work in the field of aviation finance” and has a “tremendous reputation for handling matters relating to airline bankruptcy.”

THE LEGAL 500 US 

The firm's level of client service is very high. They take time to discuss and explore difficult topics, seek creative solutions when roadblocks appear and never flinch at demanding time constraints.

CHAMBERS USA 

The firm has “earned a stellar reputation for its consistent presence on the top deals in the Russian aviation market.”

CHAMBERS EUROPE 

Ranked as a leading firm for Asset Finance & Leasing

THE LEGAL 500 US 

Ranked as a leading firm for Equipment Finance & Leasing and Aviation: Finance.

CHAMBERS USA 

Ranked #1 overall in the “10-Year A-List” survey

THE AMERICAN LAWYER


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