Aviation in Belgium

GDS Advocaten

Kennedys

The 'dynamic' and 'forward-looking' aviation team at Kennedys fields a number of first-rate sector experts. Practice head Dimitri De Bournonville is 'a great practitioner', 'intellectually brilliant' and 'stands out as one of the star practitioners in the aviation market in Belgium and the Benelux region'. Associates Dries  Deschuttere and Kim Verhaeghe are also names to note in the group, for whom passenger claims disputes have been a recent driver of activity. Associate Charlotte Thijssen left the firm in April 2020 to join GKN Aerospace.

Practice head(s):

Dimitri De Bournonville

Other key lawyers:

Dries Deschuttere; Kim Verhaeghe

Testimonials

The team is very approachable‘.

They combine regulatory, commercial and litigation capabilities, which make them rather unique in the local market‘.

Dimitri de Bournonville is a true specialist and leader in his field, with over 25 years of professional experience. He remains very approachable and someone with whom we as clients sincerely enjoy interacting with, to explore ideas out of the box and under all angles, yet in a pragmatic way‘.

Key clients

Ace Belgian Freighters

ACE Cargo

Air Belgium

AIG

ASL Airlines Belgium

ASL Aviation Group

Aviabel

Avolon

BH Air

CAL Cargo Airlines

Delvag

Etihad Airways

Finnair

HungaroControl

Iberia

LOT Polish Airlines

Luxair

Macquarie Air Finance

Norddeutsche Landesbank

Ryanair

Shannon Engine Support

Swiss International Airlines

TOLL Group

Vueling

Work highlights

  • Acting for Ryanair in various ongoing litigations before the Belgian and French courts, including passenger rights claims for delay and cancellation and claims of alleged injuries.
  • Assisting Air Belgium with negotiating strategic aircraft charter agreements for importing masks and other medical equipment into the EU in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Representing Vueling Airlines in litigation concerning passenger claims and seizure of assets.

Erkelens Law

Erkelens Law houses a 'very result-oriented' team with 'a very thorough understanding of the aviation market'. Contentious work is a key strength for the group, which is well-versed in handling noise infringement matters. Practice head Catherine Erkelens is 'the driving force of the firm; she has deep knowledge of the industry and is incredibly pragmatic, easy to work with, responsive and a flexible thinker'. Associate Stéphane De Schutter is another name to note.

Practice head(s):

Catherine Erkelens

Other key lawyers:

Stéphane De Schutter

Testimonials

The team are very good litigators‘.

The firm combines aviation knowledge with genuine pragmatism‘.

Catherine Erkelens fights for the clients and obtains results. She has a very sharp eye, immediately sees and understands the issues and knows how to efficiently deal with it‘.

Catherine Erkelens is an outstanding lawyer‘.

Key clients

Deutsche Lufthansa

Austrian Airlines

Swiss International Airlines

Thai Airways

Flightlease

Air Cargo Global

Airport Coordination

KF Aerospace

SAT Swiss Aviation

All Nippon Airways

ICTS

European Commission

Amerijet

CEAG

Aviatize

Work highlights

  • Assisting US cargo airline Amerijet with the development of its operations in the EU.
  • Acting for KF Aerospace in ongoing noise standards infringement proceedings.
  • Representing Aviatize in a challenge to a decision regarding drones legislation.

HFW

HFW's practice, which is led by Pierre Frühling, is very well-versed in assisting airlines with a broad spectrum of EU and non-EU-related work, including litigation, regulatory and transactional matters. In October 2020 Yasmin Bhatti joined Amazon as corporate aviation counsel, while in February 2021 Stéphanie Golinvaux moved to AdaStone Law.

Practice head(s):

Pierre Frühling

Key clients

Abelag-Luxaviation

Aeromexico

Aeroservices

Aircalin

Air Canada

Air Corsica

Allianz AGCS

All Nippon Airways

Arkia Israeli Airlines

AXAXL

Cargo Air

Cargolux

Cathay Pacific

Corsair

Delta Air Lines

Delvag

El Al

Global Aerospace

Hi Fly (Portugal)

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines

La Réunion Aérienne

LATAM

Liege Airport

TUI Airlines Belgium

Vietnam Airlines

Wizz Air

XL Catlin

Work highlights

  • Advising Delta Air Lines on various European Union policies and regulations issued in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including restrictions on access to European territory.
  • Acting for Abelag-Luxaviation in an ongoing legal challenge raised before the Belgian Council of State against the public tender for the carriage of the Belgian Royal Family, the Belgian Government and the European Union VVIP.
  • Acting for Liege Airport in relation to the seizure of two Boeing 747 aircrafts operated by Air Cargo Global (Slovakia) in relation to litigation between Liege Airport and Air Cargo Global.

Allen & Overy LLP

Allen & Overy LLP's practice houses 'a team of experts', which 'shares the same team spirit' and has established strengths in environment, litigation and public law matters. The group continues to represent various carriers in ongoing noise limitation infringement proceedings. Werner Eyskens is the key contact.

Practice head(s):

Werner Eyskens

CMS

Led by Annabelle Lepièce, CMS' department stands out as 'the leading practice for aviation state aid matters at EU level'. The 'insightful and well-connected' team has expertise in acting for airlines and airports, with competition law-related investigations forming a notable part of the group's workload.

Practice head(s):

Annabelle Lepièce

Testimonials

Annabelle Lepièce stands out for her expertise in aviation state aid matters – advising airlines and airports on groundbreaking developments. She is well respected by the European Commission and in the aviation industry‘.

Key clients

Airport Council International (ACI)

Cluj Napoca Airport

SOWAER

Brussels Airlines

Lyon Airport

Marseille Airport

Aeroports de Catalunya

Montpellier Airport

Belairbus

Qatar Airways

French Airports Association

Luxair

LEM Oostende – Antwerpen

Béziers Airport

Region Occitanie

Tahiti Airport

Groupe 3S

Work highlights

  • Assisting SOWAER with the notification to the European Commission of an aid scheme, a deferral of the payment of concession fees owed by the Walloon Charleroi and Liège airports to support the operators during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Representing Béziers Airport in an investigation brought by the European Commission concerning alleged aid granted to Ryanair regarding marketing contracts exchanged between the client and Ryanair.
  • Acts for Luxair in a broad range of competition law matters.

DLA Piper

DLA Piper's practice, which is jointly led by Ilse Van de Mierop and Bob Martens, is highly prominent in litigation. On the non-contentious side, the team advises clients on regulatory issues and restructurings. Counsel Charles Dumont de Chassart is another key figure in the group.

Practice head(s):

Bob Martens; Ilse Van de Mierop

Other key lawyers:

Charles Dumont de Chassart

Testimonials

Charles Dumont de Chassart is open minded, and demonstrates rigour, pragmatism, reactivity and flexibility‘.

Key clients

Sabena Aerospace

SABCA

Skeyes

Jet2.com

Aegean Airlines

Emirates Airlines

European Commission DG Climate Action

Work highlights

  • Advised Sabena Aerospace on the formation of Blueberry, a new aerospace group; SABCA was subsequently purchased by Blueberry.
  • Representing Skeyes in ongoing litigation following air traffic services disruption, involving disputes with air traffic controllers.

KADRANT LAW

The aviation team at KADRANT LAW is 'responsive to clients' needs' and garners praise for its 'practical approach'. The group has been kept busy with handling instructions related to restructuring, leasing and aircraft financing matters. Giulia Mauri is 'totally dedicated to the industry and understands the challenges that airlines and business aviation companies face'; she shares leadership of the practice with Frédérique Jos.

Practice head(s):

Giulia Mauri; Frédérique Jos

Testimonials

Giulia Mauri and Frédérique Jos are very experienced aviation lawyers with a wealth of industry knowledge and a great network. They come across as pragmatic and commercially minded counsel‘.

Giulia Mauri is one of the best aviation lawyers in the industry‘.