Next Generation Partners

Aviation in Belgium


Regarded as ‘the best in the market' by one client, the aviation team at Kennedys handles the range of transactional, regulatory, and contentious matters for a stellar client base including prominent airlines and insurers operating domestically and internationally. Experienced and ‘visionary‘ partner Dimitri de Bournonville heads the team from the Brussels office, where Dries Deschuttere, who was promoted to senior associate in 2022, is also highly regarded, standing out as ‘an associate to watch‘. The team is part of the firm’s global aviation practice, based in London, and as such can draw on a broad network of support to handle matters at a global level. In addition to his broad experience, Deschuttere is also developing a focus on the regulatory framework surrounding drones – a key growth area for the sector.

Practice head(s):

Dimitri de Bournonville

Other key lawyers:

Dries Deschuttere


‘Undisputed best in full aviation practice: from regulatory to litigation and aircraft finance.’

‘Dimitri de Bournonville is to the point, sharp and visionary. Great team. Dries Deschuttere is an associate to watch!’

‘Simply the best in the market, because they offer a combined set of services (contracts, regulatory, litigation) dedicated to the sector, next to their great expertise and excellent network. Having access to a global aviation department like the one at Kennedys is also a comfort, especially for clients active in more than one jurisdiction.’

Key clients

Ace Belgian Freighters


Air Belgium

Air Transport Services Group

ASL Airlines Belgium

ASL Aviation Group

Aviabel (Axis)


CAL Cargo Airlines

Challenge Airlines Group

Charles Taylor Adjusting



Etihad Airways

Etihad Cargo

FedEx / TNT Express


Global Aerospace


LOT Polish Airlines

Macquarie Air Finance

Macquarie Rotorcraft

Norddeutsche Landesbank

Norse Atlantic Airways

Orix Aviation



Swiss International Airlines

Swissport Cargo Services

The Aviation Factory


Work highlights

  • Advising ASL Aviation Group in the context of the refinancing of its operations and fleet of aircraft by Goldman Sachs and Investec, including the security aspects, drafting and registration of aircraft and other asset pledge agreements and the issuing of the required legal opinions.
  • Assisting Air Belgium with Chinese group Hongyuan’s strategic purchase of a minority stake in the company, which involved reviewing share purchase and shareholder agreements and obtaining approval of the transaction contracts from the Belgian civil aviation authorities from a foreign ownership control and aviation license point of view.
  • Advising ORIX AVIATION on the sale of two Airbus A300 aircraft and the lease of an Airbus A320 aircraft to Brussels Airlines, which included assisting with the gathering of all conditions precedent documents and the review of legal opinions under Belgian law.

DLA Piper

DLA Piper fields a strong aviation sector team from its Brussels office, comprised of lawyers working across practice areas to provide full-service support to an impressive roster of clients including national and international airlines and manufacturers. Bob Martens and Ilse Van de Mierop co-lead the team, with Martens an experienced litigator and Van de Mierop well regarded in the transactional space, with particular experience in restructuring. Other notable lawyers include counsel Charles Dumont De Chassart, who is also prominent in restructuring, in addition to matters relating to the maintenance, design, and engineering of aircraft.

Practice head(s):

Bob Martens; Ilse Van de Mierop

Other key lawyers:

Charles Dumont De Chassart

Key clients

Sabena Aerospace Engineering SA


Orizio SA


Maintenance Aero Maroc SA


Aegean Airlines

Emirates Airlines

Sabena SA (in bankruptcy)

Airwork Ireland Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising in relation to the transfer of the MRO Business Unit (maintenance of Lockheed Martin F-16 fighter jets) from SABCA to SNAE, which was achieved through a partial demerger by transfer.
  • Representing skeyes (previously Belgocontrol) in various proceedings by airlines, airports and other companies in the aviation industry following strikes and absences for medical reasons by air traffic controllers, causing the Belgian airspace to be closed on several occasions.
  • Advising the Orizio group both on a strategic military partnership with the Kingdom of Morocco – a joint venture that will provide services for military aircraft maintenance to the Royal Moroccan Air Force and beyond – and on the development of the new factory near Casablanca’s Mohammed V international airport for the assembly of aerostructures for PC-12 aircraft.

Erkelens Law

Catherine Erkelens, who is an accomplished partner with ‘vast experience in the aviation sector‘, heads the practice at the eponymous Erkelens Law, which provides regulatory advice, transactional support, and litigation support to a range of domestic and international clients. Key focuses of expansion for the team include passenger rights, where Yuri Quina is a key contact, and the emerging area of laws and regulations relating to drones, where Philippe Carous is developing notable expertise. Associate Stéphane De Schutter is also noted.

Practice head(s):

Catherine Erkelens

Other key lawyers:

Stéphane De Schutter; Philippe Carous; Yuri Quina


‘Erkelens Law is highly specialized in aviation law, and this shows when it comes to approaching a new case. The team has well defined roles and a good division of tasks between partners and associates, thereby providing a very efficient and cost-effective service.’

‘Catherine Erkelens has a very pleasant and direct way of communicating the most pertinent and important issues when it comes to the case at hand. Her vast experience in the aviation sector makes her an invaluable asset. It was a pleasure to have worked with her.’

‘The team of Erkelens Law has an excellent reputation in the field of aviation law.’

Key clients

Thai Airways

Menzies Aviation

All Nippon Airways

Air Malta

Deutsche Lufthansa AG

Austrian Airlines

Swiss International Airlines

Cathay Pacific

Pilatus Aircraft Ltd.

Air Atlanta Icelandic


Airport Coordination Ltd.


QP Property

Sky Service BV.

KF Aerospace.


Intradco (Chapman freeborn group).

RBG Operations, Inc.

Work highlights

  • Advised AmeriJet, a US cargo carrier, on the EU environmental law aspects of its activity.
  • Advised Air Atlanta Icelandic, an Icelandic carrier, on the EU environmental law aspects of its activity.
  • Advised All Nippon Airways on the legality of a new tax on departing passengers.


HFW‘s aerospace team is led by experienced partner Pierre Frühling, who divides his time between the firm’s offices in Paris and Brussels. The firm provides full-service support in regulatory, transactional, and contentious matters to a strong client base predominantly made up of airlines and insurers. Senior associate Alix d’Arjuzon is also noted, with a broad practice covering litigation, financing and leasing, and the drafting and negotiation of contracts, as well as a developing specialism in environmental matters.

Practice head(s):

Pierre Frühling

Other key lawyers:

Alix d’Arjuzon

Key clients


Aeroservices Handling

Aircalin / Air Calédonie International

Air Arabia

Air Canada

Air Corsica

Allianz AGCS

All Nippon Airways

Arkia Israeli Airlines


Cargo Air



Cathay Pacific



Croatia Airlines

Delta Air Lines


El Al

Global Aerospace

Hi Fly (Portugal)

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines

Korean Air

La Réunion Aérienne


Liege Airport

Luxaviation – Abelag

Nippon cargo


Swissport Cargo

Vietnam Airlines

Wizz Air

Work highlights

  • Advised Delta Air Lines on several Covid-related regulatory issues, including access to European Union sanitary requirements.
  • Advised Liege Airport on several regulatory issues, including EU aviation security regulations.
  • Advised Air Corsica on several European Union environment regulatory issues.

AdaStone Law

Founded in 2021 by the ‘hard-working and approachableStéphanie Golinvaux, a former partner at HFW, AdaStone Law specialises in acting for clients in regulated sectors and provides transactional and regulatory advice and litigation support to clients including cargo carriers and major domestic and international airlines. Golinvaux is particularly well known in the regulatory space and Hannah Tacheny, who was made up to partner in June 2022, has notable expertise in competition law.

Practice head(s):

Stéphanie Golinvaux

Other key lawyers:

Hannah Tacheny


‘The firm is very much a specialist boutique, advising on aviation and technology law. I have experience of instructing them on the aviation side this year for leases/ financings of commercial aircraft registered or operating with airlines in Belgium. I am very satisfied with quality of work, time taken to handle, and keeping to agreed budgets.’

‘Stéphanie Golinvaux is the lead partner. Very hard-working and approachable. A safe pair of hands. Clear advice. Knowledgeable as to the aviation industry, and able to work through complex negotiations in a constructive fashion with airlines and leasing companies.’

Key clients

TUI Airlines Belgium

TUI Fly Germany

TUI Belgium



Amazon Air

World Star Aviation

PK Air Finance

Work highlights

  • Advised, in the early stage, a major cargo carrier on its replacement programme strategy for the aging Boeing 747-400 freighter fleet.
  • Advised a major international airline in respect of the European Green Deal from an aviation perspective to its business.
  • Advised TUI Airlines Belgium, second largest Belgian airline company with 40 aircraft, in respect of several agreements (ASLA, ASA, ASCA) to be entered into with partners.


The aviation team at CMS has a distinct focus on European regulatory and competition matters, which it handles for clients including public authorities, airport managers and infrastructure owners, ground handlers, and airlines. Annabelle Lepièce leads the team, and is particularly well regarded for her work for airports and on state aid matters. Notable support comes from competition lawyer Marguerite Soete.

Practice head(s):

Annabelle Lepièce

Other key lawyers:

Marguerite Soete


‘It is easy to work with CMS and I can always trust them for professional help. It is very personal, but still highly professional always. Exceptional company. I can highly recommend them – and I have many times.’

‘Annabelle Lepièce is a one of a kind person to work with. She is committed to her work and always on top of knowledge and the business. My trust in her is full and if I ever have any special needs in my work, Annabelle is the one I contact. She is the best!’

Key clients

French Airports Association

Aeroports de Catalunya

La Rochelle Airport



Aeroports de Catalunya

Oostende and Antwerpen airports

Béziers airport

Region Occitanie

Cluj Napoca Airport

Lille Airport

Strasbourg Airport

RODEZ Airport

Work highlights

  • Assisted Airports Council International on the revision of the European Commission Guidelines on state aid for climate, energy, and the protection of the environment.
  • Advised Aeroports de Catalunya on an incentive scheme for the development of new air routes.
  • Advised La Rochelle Airport in the context of an audit of the French regional court of auditors on contracts concluded between the airport and Ryanair in relation to state aid and public procurement issues.

GDS Advocaten

GDS Advocaten has a strong offering in the aviation sector, with a focus on transactional matters such as leases, restructuring, and financing, and additional expertise in litigation. Birgitta Van Itterbeek and Mia Wouters lead the practice from the firm’s offices in Antwerp and Brussels, respectively.

Practice head(s):

Birgitta Van Itterbeek; Mia Wouters

Key clients

TUI Airlines Belgium

Challenge Airlines (BE)

LEM Antwerp

LEM Ostend



TAM Europe


Equatorial Congo Airlines

Air Antwerp



Work highlights

  • Assisted TUI Airlines Belgium with local law issues and delivery, and with regular fleet matters such as winter subleases and aircraft leaving the fleet.
  • Assisted ABELO with the leasing of an ATR72-600 aircraft to Afrijet through a Brussels lessee, acting as local counsel to the lessor with respect to all local law issues.
  • Acted for Rolls Royce with respect to local law issues for the leasing of RR engines – the transaction has been aborted.

K&L Gates GP

K&L Gates GP's team provides operational advice to aviation and airport clients, with a particular focus on those looking to access or expand into the EU market, and includes a number of experienced competition specialists. Philip Torbøl and Mélanie Bruneau lead the practice, with Bruneau a key contact for clients seeking regulatory advice.

Practice head(s):

Philip Torbøl; Melanie Bruneau

Other key lawyers:

Antoine de Rohan Chabot

Key clients


World Fuel Services



Multi Service Tolls

Jota Aviation



Specialist aviation firm KADRANT LAW‘s practice is headed by the ‘dependableGiulia Mauri and Frédérique Jos. The team provides transactional support to clients in commercial and business aviation, including airlines, lessors, and lessees, as well as acting in litigation and assisting with compliance.

Practice head(s):

Giulia Mauri; Frédérique Jos


‘Giulia Mauri has a very strong background in business aviation law and is very dependable. She and Frédérique Jos are very much appreciated by our clients.’

‘A very experienced team with strong client focus.’

‘Impressive. Deep sectorial knowledge, of both technical issues and stakeholders. Great interaction with our team and very good alignment with our philosophy, priorities, and goals. Excellent credibility in meetings. Straight to the point, creative, and very clear in statements completed and solutions proposed.’