Kennedys provides ‘in-depth knowledge‘ of the aviation sector to its broad international client base, which includes airlines, lessors, and public sector bodies, advising across large-scale financing and lease agreements, commercial agreements, and corporate governance issues, as well as representing clients in passenger claims and sectoral disputes. The Brussels-based team forms part of the firm’s global aviation practice, and is heavily involved in pan-European and global matters. The practice is led by ‘uncontested expert‘ Dimitri de Bournonville, a vastly experienced figure within the space with expertise in transactions, leasing, and regulatory issues. Senior associates Dries Deschuttere and Kim Verhaeghe remain key names within the team.
Aviation in Belgium
Dimitri de Bournonville
Other key lawyers:
Dries Deschuttere; Kim Verhaeghe
‘The team has an in-depth expert knowledge in the aviation area and provides quality advice on decisions to be made.’
‘Each person within the team, including Dimitri de Bournonville’s well-known expertise, is dynamic and always keen to assist on short notice. The rendered opinions are summarized but accurate and remains fully understandable to non-lawyers.’
‘Over the years, Kennedys remains a truly focal firm for aviation in the market. The experience gained by its members in the industry enable them to provide acute and pragmatic assistance in the matters they are handling. What differentiates them from the competition is the broad range of services they can provide: transactions (including aircraft lease and purchase), corporate, regulatory, litigation and arbitration.’
‘Dimitri de Bournonville is one of the most experienced lawyers in the aviation legal market. He is almost systematically involved, as counsel to one or the other party (including airlines and lessors), in all major transactions and restructurings in the market, given his background and expertise.’
‘The practice at Kennedys stands out because of the team’s knowledge of the sector, from a legal and operational point of view, their reactivity, the excellent value for money in relation to the services delivered. All members of the team are very approachable, expert in their field and multilingual, which enables them to work on a wide range of matters, from complex transactions to litigation and regulatory (EU and Benelux).’
‘Dimitri de Bournonville remains an uncontested leader in the aviation legal market, bringing over 25 years of experience in the field. He is able to conduct negotiations of highly complex transactions, while also managing to respond, with the same degree of pragmatism, to regulatory queries and to deal with litigation and arbitration.’
‘Unique team based in Brussels with a clear focus and true sector knowledge’
Ace Belgian Freighters
Air Transport Services Group
ASL Airlines Belgium
ASL Aviation Group
CAL Cargo Airlines
Challenge Airlines Group
Charles Taylor Adjusting
FedEx / TNT Express
LOT Polish Airlines
Macquarie Air Finance
Swiss International Airlines
Swissport Cargo Services
- Advising Air Belgium on the drafting and negotiation of strategic aircraft charter agreements for the purpose of the importation of masks and other medical equipment into the EU in the context of the Covid-19 crisis.
- Advising the ASL aviation group on the refinancing of its entire fleet of Boeing 737 freighter aircraft by Goldman Sachs, including the creation and registration of securities and pledge on bank accounts and aircraft.
- Advising Atkins on its reporting to the European Invest Bank regarding the Urban Air Mobility projects.
DLA Piper has a cross-practice aviation offering, encompassing litigation, regulatory issues, aircraft finance, and taxation, advising a number of airlines and maintenance companies on day-to-day operations, restructurings, and high-tech projects. The team is integrated at EU level, regularly handling cross-border mandates, and is also noted for its work on airport privatisation, primarily on the regulatory side. The practice is overseen by litigator Bob Martens, who represents a number of aviation sector clients before Belgian and EU courts in cases relating to public procurement, state aid, and aviation regulatory issues, alongside Ilse Van de Mierop, who focuses on restructuring work, advising distressed airlines on all aspects of their restructuring and reorganisation processes. Counsel Charles Dumont De Chassart specialises in the aeronautics sector, handling all aspects of complex restructurings.
Bob Martens; Ilse Van de Mierop
Other key lawyers:
Charles Dumont De Chassart
Sabena Aerospace Engineering SA
Maintenance Aero Maroc SA
European Commission DG Climate action
Sabena SA in bankruptcy
- Advising Sabena Aerospace SA on the creation of Group Blueberry, and all of the group’s commercial matters.
- Representing Skeyes (Belgocontrol), the Belgian air navigation and air traffic service provider, in various proceedings by airlines, airports and other companies in the aviation industry following strikes and absence for medical reasons by air traffic controllers, causing the Belgian airspace to be closed on several occasions.
- Advising Group Blueberry on its new joint venture in Morocco, to provide services for military aircraft maintenance to the Royal Moroccan Air Force, and beyond.
Specialist aviation firm Erkelens Law handles a wide range of issues in the sector, with a growing focus on cargo, business and private aviation, and major regulatory issues including ground handling, air navigation charges, Brexit considerations for international operators, and state aid. The firm is headed up by Catherine Erkelens, who has broad expertise across the sector, and has represented clients in major domestic and EU-level litigation relating to major developments such as liberalisation, tax, and airport charges. At associate level, Stéphane De Schutter focuses on passenger rights litigation, EU and international law, and data protection issues for aviation clients.
Other key lawyers:
‘Catherine Erkelens communicates well and within the agreed canvas and time schedule.‘
‘In depth knowledge of aviation law, providing the client with full service and answers which are clearly documented and formulated.‘
‘The firm relies on a strong international and European network and, being located in Brussels, offers state of the art information on regulatory developments within the European Union.‘
‘Catherine Erekelens is a highly competent and experienced aviation legal expert.’
‘Erkelens Law is a niche aviation firm with an excellent reputation on the market. It is unique in the sense that it differs from the other law firms, which integrate their aviation activity in other practices like insurance or finance. Erkelens Law gives a top quality full service to its aviation clients, including excellent regulatory advice also on matters of data protection.’
‘Catherine Erkelens’ know-how and experience in the aviation sector stand out. She deals with very important matters on the market. Her work results in leading legal precedents. Also in relation to covid-19 Catherine has shown to be a valuable contributor to setting the legal scene. She has been providing excellent advice e.g. on the data protection implication in the aviation sector of several actions taken by airlines and airports in the framework of the pandemic.’
‘Erkelens Law was able to provide practical insight and experience from the administrative authority that was a decision maker in our file. The insight enabled us to develop our arguments that were ultimately successful.’
Swiss International Airlines
Airport Coordination Ltd.
SAT Swiss Aviation AG
All Nippon Airways
Pilatus Aircraft Ltd.
Bouygues Immobilier Belgium
- Advised Menzies Aviation on the airport groundhandling regulatory framework applicable at several individual airports in the EU.
- Represented KF Aerospace in litigation relating to noise standards when making use of Brussels Airport.
- Advised Air Atlanta Icelandic on regulatory questions related to its activity at Liège Airport.
HFW provides a full service to aerospace sector clients, encompassing finance and leasing, commercial agreements, litigation, and regulatory support. Clients include commercial airlines, including major names such as Delta and various national flag carriers, as well as air transportation entities and cargo handlers. Practice head Pierre Frühling is a vastly experienced practitioner within the space, who handles litigation for airlines and insurers in areas such as air disasters and cargo claims, alongside maintaining an active transactional practice across commercial agreements and fleet deals, as well as advising on state aid issues and restructuring.
Excellent knowledge of local and international laws applicable to the aviation industry.’
‘Pierre Frühling has an excellent level of expertise – extremely reliable.’
All Nippon Airways
Arkia Israeli Airlines
Delta Air Lines
Hi Fly (Portugal)
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines
La Réunion Aérienne
- Advised CMA CGM on launching its air cargo activity, through agreements with the Belgian airline Air Belgium.
- Advised Delta Air Lines on several EU regulatory issues, including the implementation of the European Union’s most recent environment legislations affecting airlines.
- Advising Croatia Airlines on its state aid issues, which are subject to approval by the European Commission.
Allen & Overy LLP
Allen & Overy LLP advises clients in the aviation sector on leasing, financing, commercial contracts, and more contentious issues such as environmental regulation and liability. The team is also involved in innovative sector developments relating to urban air mobility, and remains active in Covid-19 response matters. The practice is led by Werner Eyskens, an experienced aviation specialist who acts for airlines, lessors, and high net-worth individuals.
Led by Annabelle Lepièce, the team at CMS handles European and public regulatory and competition law matters for clients in the aviation sector, including state aid matters and regulatory investigations, alongside compliance matters in areas such as ground handling and security. The firm has a strong record in acting for airlines and airports, with a number of major Belgian and international clients. Lepièce has represented public sector clients up to European Commission level, and has a strong focus on air transportation and the aviation sector.
Aeroports de Catalunya
French Airports Association
Airports Council International
Oostende and Antwerpen airports
Cluj Napoca Airport
La Rochelle Airport
- Advised EasyJet on several state aid matters, in particular with regard to a negative decision relating to the grant of an aid for the relaunch of air routes by the Slovenian Minister.
- Advised SOWAER on the notification to the European Commission of an aid scheme in favour of the Walloon Charleroi and Liège airports in the context of the COVID-19 outbreak.
- Represented Beziers Airport in an investigation by the European Commission of alleged aid to Ryanair and to the airport following a complaint by Air France lodged in 2017.
GDS Advocaten handles a wide range of aviation and air transport sector matters, primarily representing airlines alongside lending banks. The team advises on airline restructuring and insolvency proceedings, lease agreements, financing, and represents clients in litigation relating to accidents, incidents, pilots' licenses, and other permitting issues. The practice is led by Birgitta Van Itterbeek, a highly experienced aviation practitioner with in-house expertise, alongside Mia Wouters, who focuses on commercial air transport matters.
Birgitta Van Itterbeek; Mia Wouters
TUI Airlines Belgium
Equatorial Congo Airlines
- Assisted TUI Belgium Airlines with lease rental deferrals and several refinancings among which two B737-800 aircraft and one Embraer aircraft.
- Assisted Challenge Airlines (BE) with negotiating several maintenance agreements and wet lease agreements.
- Assisted LEM Oostende Brugge, as the operator of the airport of Ostend, with the expansion of its activities in the cargo business with a new cargo terminal.
K&L Gates GP advises aviation, air transport and logistics, and airport clients, handling a range of corporate and commercial issues, regulatory compliance matters, and sector-specific issues such as air ticket distribution, airport expansion projects, and ground handling disputes. The practice works across domestic and cross-border matters, with a combination of local and international clients, and also handles competition and merger matters. Philip Torbøl leads the team, focusing on cross-border competition and internal market matters, alongside Mélanie Bruneau, who takes the lead on regulatory compliance, commercial and distribution work.
Philip Torbøl; Melanie Bruneau
World Fuel Services
Multi Service Tolls
KADRANT LAW specialises in aviation law, supporting commercial and business aviation clients in financing and lease agreements, transactions, and commercial contracts, alongside regulatory advice and an active litigation practice, primarily representing airlines in passenger claims. The team is led by Giulia Mauri, a long-established expert in aviation law and a regular adviser to aviation authorities, with Frédérique Jos also a key player in the team and an authority on business aviation matters.
Other key lawyers:
‘Giulia Mauri is a brilliant professional who has an in depth knowledge of the aviation industry.‘
‘The team at Kadrant is responsive and keen to deliver a tailor-made service to the client.‘
‘Giulia and her team are generally multi lingual and often have qualifications in several jurisdictions, which makes them aware of the crossovers in other jurisdictions. Giulia, in particular is also very focussed on forging relationships with lawyers and firms in other jurisdictions in order to provide her clients with the best level of service.‘
‘Highly committed partners with a deep knowledge and understanding of the aviation industry.‘
‘Easy to work with, no delegation to junior lawyers, pragmatic.‘