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The Legal 500 Hall of Fame Icon The Legal 500 Hall of Fame highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence. The Hall of Fame highlights, to clients, the law firm partners who are at the pinnacle of the profession. In the United Kingdon, the criteria for entry is to have been recognised by The Legal 500 as one of the elite leading lawyers for eight years. These partners are highlighted below and throughout the editorial.
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This section assesses firms’ capabilities in airline, airports and regulatory work, and defendant insurance matters. Aviation finance is covered in the Asset finance and leasing section, and aviation-related personal injury work is covered in the Travel section.

A ‘market leader for aviation litigation’, Clyde & Co LLP is praised for its ‘approachability’, ‘worldwide expertise and resources’. It handles major losses and multi-jurisdictional claims, with ‘unparalleled’ experience advising airlines and insurers on aviation losses. AIG, Allianz, Brit, Chubb, Global Aerospace,, Emirates, Malaysian Airlines and easyJet are among the team’s clients. Key figures include Philip Bass, who is ‘very experienced in aviation liability’, the ‘hugely knowledgeable’Maria Cetta, Catherine West, who handles multi-jurisdictional claims for airlines and insurers, and David Willcox, who has a ‘great reputation’. John Samiotis is a ‘particularly astute operator’ and is recommended alongside the ‘exceptional’ Joseph Goodridge, Gareth Lewis, who focuses on claims within the UK, Central and South America, and Africa, and Craig Rooney, who is ‘very capable’ on aviation insurance liability work. Mark Bisset is the key figure for regulatory matters, while Austin Barham has ‘longstanding aviation litigation experience’. Simon Potter is a ‘personable and solid litigator’. Cients also single out Patrick Slomski, who handles contentious and non-contentious matters, and legal directors Tom van de Wijngaart and Adam Baker. Aviation liability specialist Robert Ireland joined the team from Kennedys in 2016 and ‘exceptional’ barrister Rob Lawson QC joined from Quadrant Chambers in 2017.

The ‘first-class’ department at HFW is noted for its ‘strong aviation nous’. Aviation head Giles Kavanagh is advising Rolls-Royce and its insurers on an Australian class-action case relating to the explosion of an engine on a Qantas flight shortly after take-off from Singapore. Edward Spencer continues to advise the organisers of the August 2015 Shoreham Air Show on the loss of a vintage Hawker Hunter military jet, which killed 11 people on the ground and injured many others. Nicholas Hughes is acting for Allianz and Canadian manufacturer Instrumar in a claim by Ethiopian Airlines relating to fire damage sustained by an aircraft parked at London Heathrow. AIG, MS Amlin, Global Aerospace, Chubb, Cathay Pacific Airlines, British Airways, Thomas Cook Airlines and Virgin are also clients. Sue Barham (now a consultant) is ‘an aviation expert’. Other key figures include recently promoted partner Zohar Zik, who handles regulatory matters, and associates Christopher Smith and Mark Waters.

DLA Piper has a ‘friendly and hands-on team’ with a ‘great reputation’ in aviation matters. It handles complex and high-value matters for international and domestic airlines, aviation service providers and aviation insurers, with wide-ranging expertise spanning dispute resolution, regulatory issues, commercial contracts, accidents and insurance disputes in the aviation sector. Tony Payne is advising Manchester Airports Group on its submissions to the DfT regarding night time movement limits and noise quota limits at Stansted Airport. Mark Franklin is representing Honeywell in a $42m product liability dispute concerning property damage resulting from a fire that broke out on an aircraft while it was parked at Heathrow airport. Kathryn Ward is ‘completely focused on delivering for the client; he will always go the extra mile’ and has ‘a good understanding of the commercial aspects of case handling as well as the sensitivities surrounding aviation claims’. Ward represented Allianz in liability issues relating to the fatal crash of an ATR72 aircraft operated by Aerocaribbean in November 2010. Payne and Franklin head the team.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP’s multi-disciplinary practice acts for airlines, aircraft manufacturers, airport owners and operators, infrastructure development contractors and government bodies on a range of regulatory, competition, corporate and dispute resolution matters. It is acting for Virgin Atlantic Airways on regulatory and competition matters regarding its joint venture with Delta Air Lines in relation to routes between the UK, US, Canada and Mexico. Other clients include easyJet, Heathrow Airport Holdings, TUI Travel, Thomson Airways, Gatwick Airport and TAG Farnborough Airport. Gareth Roberts heads the team alongside competition and regulatory expert Kim Dietzel. Gregg Rowan and Gavin Williams are also recommended.

Ince & Co’s ‘excellent team’ is ‘thoroughly trusted by clients, particularly the insurers’, and is praised for its ‘responsive’ and ‘tailored service’. It handles major disputes, insurance, regulatory work, employment, commercial contracts and competition mandates. The team is retained by several major airlines, including Ryanair and Vueling Airlines, on UK passenger claims. Bristow Helicopters, flydubai, Emirates and are also clients. Global head of aviation Gillie Belsham is ‘masterful, tactically astute and commercially savvy’. She is ably assisted by Anna Anatolitou, who advises on aviation disputes, regulatory and commercial matters, has a strong Middle East practice; and Philippe Ruttley and managing associate Solange Leandro, who handle aviation-related competition matters. Consultant Chris Walsh is also recommended. Employment specialist Rebecca Thornley-Gibson joined from asb law LLP in 2016.

Norton Rose Fulbright’s ‘knowledgeable’ department advises on a range of antitrust, competition, regulatory, commercial, insurance, planning and disputes issues in the aviation sector. The team acted for Delta Air Lines on the acquisition of a slot at Heathrow Airport from Croatia Airlines. Other key work includes handling EC261 claims for numerous airlines including British Airways, easyJet, and Wizz Air. Duncan Batchelor heads the aviation department, which includes aviation disputes head Patrick Farrell, who has ‘vast’ experience in aviation litigation, arbitration and repossessions, Chris Randall, who handles transactional matters in the aviation sector, and Ian Giles, who handles competition, cartel investigations and merger control matters. Other key figures include consultant Tim Ingham, who advises aviation insurers and their insureds; Robin Springthorpe, who focuses on commercial litigation and arbitration, with a particular emphasis on commercial and regulatory issues; Simon Chamberlain, who handles regulatory and commercial matters; and Charlotte Winter, who handles complex aviation disputes. Senior associates Annabelle Wheeler, Dan Cowdy and Zayba Drabu are also recommended.

Stephenson Harwood fields a team of ‘leading commercial aviation litigators’ and is a ‘go-to firm’ for disputes. Key highlights included advising BCI Aircraft Leasing Ireland C on an $82m dispute arising from the redelivery of two Airbus A340 aircraft by Air Namibia, and defending Jordan Aviation in a $7m claim concerning the redelivery condition of an Airbus A330. The team also acted for TransAsia Airways on its potential inclusion on the EU blacklist of airlines, and is advising Ryanair on a range of contentious matters. Team head Paul Phillips is a ‘master tactician and strategist’ with ‘extensive industry knowledge’; he is ‘very good at assessing the overall merits of a case and getting on top of the details’. Senior associate Chloe Challinor has ‘exceptional understanding of aviation law and is a tough litigator’.

The team at Bird & Bird LLP is ‘excellent to work with’ and delivers ‘top-quality advice’ through ‘quick response times’. It handles regulatory, commercial, competition, employment, technology and transactional matters as well as dispute resolution, with an emphasis on legal issues relating to unmanned aerial systems (UAS). The firm acts for easyJet on slot agreements, commercial agreements, and regulatory matters in relation to data protection and passenger information. Virgin Atlantic Airways, Sri Lankan, North Air, Air Asia and Emirates are also clients. Team head Paul Briggs advises on commercial mandates, and Sophie Eyre handles aviation-related commercial litigation and arbitration. ‘Knowledgeable’ of counsel Simon Phippard advises on insurance and regulatory issues.

Hill Dickinson LLP handles commercial, regulatory, competition and insurance disputes in the aviation sector. It is advising a Middle East carrier on aircraft accident issues in relating to the total and fatal loss of an aircraft. It is also defending a UK-based low-cost carrier in EC261 claims and is advising another low-cost carrier on the establishment of its UK base. Department head Joanna Kolatsis handles commercial, non-contentious and regulatory matters. Associates Alastair Long and Lucy Schofield are also recommended, as is consultant Saleema Brohi.

Hogan Lovells International LLP’s airports team sits within its infrastructure practice and handles specialist regulatory, infrastructure, planning, competition, real estate and dispute resolution mandates, leveraging expertise from its international network where necessasry. Aéroports de Paris, Regional Airports Limited, TAV and Belfast City Airport are clients. Andrew Briggs specialises in infrastructure mandates. Andrew Gallagher and counsel Charles Ford are also recommended.

Clients of Holland & Knight (UK) LLP single out the team’s ‘industrial and legal expertise, which results in excellent quality advice’, and its response times, which are ‘second-to-none’. The team continues to advise Haughey Air on a contractual dispute with AgustaWestland arising out of the purchase of a AW139 helicopter. Consultant Ian Clark, senior counsel Tim Murray, Gwyn O’Flynn, who handles transactional matters, and Robert Ricketts are recommended.

Kennedys’ ‘first-rate’ department has specialist experience in the aviation insurance market, acting for insurers, their insureds, and other carriers. It is representing Tatarstan Airlines and lead reinsurer XL-Catlin on the fatal crash of Tatarstan Airlines Flight 363 which crashed at Kazan International Airport while attempting to land. It is also acting for Bhoja Air and lead reinsurer Ingosstrakh on the fatal crash of Bhoja Air Flight 213 during its approach to Benazir Bhutto International Airport, Islamabad. The tem is acting for British Airways and AIG on issues arising from a fire that took place during take-off from Las Vegas-McCarran International Airport on British Airways Flight 2276 in 2015. The ‘excellent’ Simon Balls heads the team, which includes Mark Welbourn, who is ‘great for defence work’; the ‘very knowledgeable’ Alexandra Rodina; senior associate Noelia Mann; and Sam Mason (also a senior associate) who recently joined from Clyde & Co LLP. Robert Ireland left the firm to join Clyde & Co LLP.

Slaughter and May’s multi-disciplinary aviation team handles regulatory, litigation, and real estate matters in the sector. It advised Gatwick Airport on the strategic case for a new runway at the airport and is acting for British Airways in multi-party litigation following air cargo cartel investigations worldwide. Efstathios Michael handles contentious aviation matters, while Anna Lyle-Smythe and Bertrand Louveaux advise on merger control issues.

Addleshaw Goddard handles a range of aviation law matters, including regulatory and dispute resolution, for clients such as British Airways, LATAM Airlines, United Airlines, Wings Capital, Rolls Royce and Manchester Airport Group. Rory MacCarthy, who is noted for regulatory matters, and Rebecca Garner head the department.

Baker McKenzie leverages its international footprint to advise on disputes, regulatory, antitrust, projects and general commercial mandates in the aviation sector. The team is advising the BVI Government on its international airport expansion project. Hermes Airports, Menzies Aviation and IAG are also clients. Corporate partner Peter Strivens heads the team.

Although Dentons is principally noted for its ‘outstanding’ aviation finance practice, it also handles dispute resolution and litigation, competition, corporate, TMT, data protection and employment mandates in the sector, leveraging its global footprint where necessary. Virgin Atlantic and SITA are clients. Team head Nick Chandler is recommended.

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP provides an ‘excellent service’ covering regulatory, commercial, competition, employment and dispute resolution matters. It is advising Hermes Airports on EU law matters, and provides employment advice to Heathrow Airport. IATA, Birmingham Airport, Manchester Airports Group, Vantage Airports Group and Aero Professional are also clients. The team is led by Richard Prowse in Birmingham, Simon Masters in Manchester and Cardiff-based Tom Bray, who ‘really goes the extra mile and is very responsive’.

Gowling WLG handles a range of mandates for aviation-sector clients inlcuding IP, competition, dispute resolution, pensions and employment matters. It is acting for Thai Airways in proceedings brought by British Airways in the UK Air Cargo litigation. dnata and Monarch Airlines are also clients. The team is predominantly based across its London and Birmingham offices and is led by litigation partner Clark Sargent. Bernardine Adkins handles competition and antitrust matters, and principal associate James Barr is noted for IT, commercial and outsourcing advice in the aviation sector.

Regulatory, commercial, and contentious mandates are a mainstay of the practice at Keystone Law. Highlights included advising Blue Island on its airline franchise agreement with Flybe. Virgin Atlantic, Wizzair, Bermuda Civil Aviation Authority and Privatair are also clients. Key individuals include Trevor Sears, who is ‘very experienced’, Jeremy Bennett, Alex Ferrari, who handles domestic and international disputes in the aviation sector, and Susannah Sheppard, who advises on EU and UK competition matters. Barrister Hugh O’Donovan, who specialises in commercial and competition aviation, has a ‘fantastic reputation’. Tamsin Hayward joined easyJet in 2016.

Boutique aviation practice The Air Law Firm LLP handles a range of aviation-related mandates including disputes, commercial and regulatory matters. Commercial team head Aoife O’Sullivan has ‘vast experience of the aviation sector’ and John Korzeniowski leads the dispute resolution team, where Diego Garrigues acts for airlines, general aviation operators and owners.

The team at Winston & Strawn London LLP works closely with its US colleagues to advise on transactional matters in the aviation sector, as well as regulatory issues, infrastructure, and environmental law matters. Key clients include Aer Lingus, which the team advises on commercial and joint venture matters. Christopher Boresjo and Mark Moody head the team.

The cross-departmental group at Gordon Dadds LLP handles corporate and commercial, employment, litigation and property issues. Richard Elliott recently advised a start-up airline on structuring and regulatory matters.

Locke Lord LLP handles disputes, regulatory and commercial matters in the aviation sector. Ipeco Holdings, Ethiopian Airlines, Olympic Airlines, Aegean Air and Singapore Airlines are clients. Kevin Heath handles aviation disputes for airlines and team head Alan Meneghetti handles commercial and regulatory mandates.

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