Aviation finance in France

Norton Rose Fulbright

The highly regarded aviation finance group at Norton Rose Fulbright remains a market leader, advising major financial institutions, export credit agencies and airlines, on a diverse spectrum of matters. Headed by practice area expert George Paterson, the team assists clients with lessor trading activity, retrenchment, new financing structures, regulatory compliance and day-to-day operations. Other key figures include Marc Hamilton, who handles aircraft sales and purchases, syndicated loans and pre-delivery financings; Alex Wass, an asset finance specialist; and counsel Sébastien Allain. Alexandra Somerset joined as special counsel from the firm’s London aviation team in 2022.


Practice head(s):

George Paterson


Other key lawyers:

Marc Hamilton; Alex Wass; Sébastien Allain: Alexandra Somerset


Testimonials

‘Expert knowledge of the sector and stakeholders (manufacturers, ECA, banks, companies), extensive international network. Strong knowledge of the constraints and concerns of banks.’

‘George Paterson is the undisputed reference of the sector, with a justified reputation.’

‘The NRF team is the first we would recommend in terms of aircraft financing. The team demonstrates great professionalism and an exceptional ability to manage deadlines.’

‘George Paterson is a master of aviation finance. We can always rely on his extraordinary knowledge of the industry. His advice is very valuable to us and we appreciate it at its fair value.’

‘Excellent availability and mastery of subjects. Ability to unblock difficult situations. Very good communication.’

‘George Paterson: great knowledge of the market, of practices. Excellent understanding of the issues and great assistance in the negotiation.’

Key clients

Société Générale


Work highlights


  • Advised Societe Generale on the sustainability-linked Balthazar-supported senior secured loan for one A350-900 delivered to Air France.
  • Advised an ad hoc group of secured creditors on the $6bn debt restructuring of a regional aircraft leasing company, Nordic Aviation Capital DAC (NAC), which completed on the 1st June 2022.

HFW

The aviation finance group at the Paris office of HFW leverages the experience of its team to advise major airlines, airports, financial institutions, air freighters, aviation insurers, aircraft maintenance providers, aviation handling agents and other transport companies seeking to expand their aviation cargo operations. Headed by the experienced Pierre Frühling, the team assists with a diverse range of contentious and non-contentious matters, including large aircraft fleet deals and restructuring (leases and purchases), regulatory compliance and agreements between airlines (concentrations, joint-ventures).

Practice head(s):

Pierre Frühling


Key clients

Air Austral


Air Corsica


Air Loyauté


Air Tahiti Nui


Aircalin


Bank of America


Blade Urban


Cargolux


CMA CGM


Corsair


Croatia Airlines


Goshawk


Hi Fly


Kuwait International Bank K.S.C.P.


Mont Blanc Helicopteres/HBG Group


Vietnam Airlines


Work highlights


  • Advised the shipowner CMA CGM in launching its aviation cargo operations, including in getting its French operating licence and air operator certificate, granted in June 2022.
  • Advised Air Corsica in buying 5 new generation ATR-72 XT “green” aircraft.
  • Advised Blade Urban in entering into its large-scale cooperation agreement with Héli Sécurité (France), another French operator Monacair (Monaco), covering the fleet of the 3 operators and integrating the distribution systems into Blade Urban.

Hogan Lovells (Paris) LLP

The Paris team at Hogan Lovells (Paris) LLP is able to draw on the bench strength of the firm's global network to advise major financial institutions, non-bank lenders and airlines on high-value domestic and cross-border aviation financing transactions. Headed by practice area expert Alexander Premont, the group's varied workload sees it assisting with export credit agency-supported financings, the disposal of individual and aircraft portfolios, acquisition financings, pre-delivery payment financings and securitisations. Counsel Guergana Zabounova brings strength to syndicated financings. Other key figures are senior associate Alexandre Salem, a project and asset finance specialist, and associate Tam Tran. Cassandre Porgès joined from Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP in September 2022.

Practice head(s):

Alexander Premont


Other key lawyers:

Alexandre Salem; Guergana Zabounova; Tam Tran; Cassandre Porgès


Testimonials

‘We have been working with Alexander Premont for many years. He is an excellent negotiator and always looks out for the best interests of his clients and the transaction as a whole. Tam Tran is a very committed, pragmatic and commercial lawyer.’

‘Alexander Prémont, Alexandre Salem and Guergana Zabounova stand out for their involvement, their knowledge of the industry and their constructive approach. It is not only enriching but pleasant to collaborate with them.’

‘The Hogan Lovells team is extremely competent and the best when it comes to financing. It is at the forefront in terms of innovation and technology.’

‘Alexander Premont is a market leader in financing with impressive expertise, particularly in the field of aviation. He anticipates problems, perfectly defines the strategy and always offers practical solutions. He knows the industry very well in addition to being a brilliant technician.’

‘In our opinion, Hogan Lovells is among the best law firms when it comes to asset finance in general, and specifically in shipping and aviation. We have worked with the firm for a number of years and have witnessed their expert knowledge and skills in various jurisdictions, as well as a first-class execution capacity.’

‘Alexandre Salem has strong technical skills and a great commercial awareness. He never misses a thing and goes straight to the point. Tam Tran is a detail-oriented, incredibly efficient and client-focused attorney. She knows perfectly the documentation of the cases she deals with regardless of the number of deals in progress and this can be seen during the negotiations. She knows how to anticipate our requests and needs, which is a real time saver. It is a real pleasure to work with her.’

Key clients

Crédit du Nord


Air Caraïbes Atlantique SAS


Work highlights


  • Advised Crédit Agricole Corporate & Investment Bank and other French financial institutions in the financing of new Airbus A 350-1000 aircraft for Air Caraïbes.
  • Advised Crédit du Nord as agent and the other lenders, in relation to the financing (and refinancing) by Heli Union, a helicopter services provider, of the acquisition of several helicopters (including H160 and H145).

Watson Farley & Williams LLP

The Paris aviation finance group at Watson Farley & Williams LLP coordinates with team members in the firm's offices across the globe to assist major banks and financial institutions, investment funds, ECAs, lessors, operators and government agencies such as the French Ministry of Defence, with transactions and financings ranging from acquisitions and restructuring to French tax leasing. Alexia Russell, an expert in ECA-backed transactions, leads the team. Asset finance specialist Philippe Monfort, who was promoted to partner in May 2022, provides additional support.

Practice head(s):

Alexia Russell


Other key lawyers:

Philippe Monfort


Testimonials

‘WFW Paris is one of the best aviation finance law firms in France and we always work with them. They are very responsive and have deep understanding about this industry.’

‘Mr Philippe Monfort is one of the best aviation lawyers. He provides effective advice and assists us in closing deals in France very efficiently.’

‘WFW team members are able to come up with solutions outside of the box.’

‘Industry knowledge and familiarity with issues.’

‘Great.’

‘A very responsive and flexible team that is very technically competent.’

Key clients

French Ministry of Defence


LCI


RIVE Private Investment


Turning Rock Partners


Work highlights


  • Advising RIVE Private Investment, LCI and Turning Rock Partners (“TRP”) on their joint acquisition of a $115m portfolio of 19 helicopters as part of the expansion of their international helicopter leasing platform in Europe and beyond.
  • Assisting the French Ministry of Defence with carrying out their A400M aircraft programme and in connection with the preparation of new contracts and amendments to the existing contractual documentation.

DWF (France) AARPI

The aviation finance group at DWF (France) AARPI is led by the highly regarded Richard Jadot, who is sought out for his experience advising on aircraft repossession, financing restructurings and insolvency proceedings; he joined from Ravet & Associés in March 2022 along with associate Valérie Clavet, who has a background in asset and project finance matters. The team frequently collaborates with the firm's global network to advise lenders, airlines, manufacturers and consultants, on a wide range of matters.




























Practice head(s):

Richard Jadot


Other key lawyers:

Valérie Clavet


Key clients

Vedder Price London


Engine Lease Finance Corporation


Corsair


Dentons


King & Wood Mallesons


CAIRE (Compagnie Aérienne Inter-Régionale Express)


Aerovision


Paris Flight Training


Cofrance


Constel Aviation


HeliRent / HeliFirst


Work highlights


  • Advising Corsair on the financing of A330-900 aircraft by way of a French tax lease scheme with Avolon as lessor.
  • Advising Chorus Aviation on the restructuring of several ATR72-600 aircraft leased to PT Wings Abadi.
  • Advising Azorra on the refinancing of 4 Embraer and 1 ATR72 -500 aircraft leased to French airline companies HOP and CAIRE (Compagnie Aérienne Inter Régionale Express), including a security package of 5 aircraft mortgages.

Odi-Sé Avocats

The aviation finance specialists at boutique law firm Odi-Sé Avocats advise banks, lessors, airlines, manufacturers, MRO companies and operators, on a diverse spectrum of matters. Led by Matthieu De Varax, the team assists with structured finance, sales and purchase, leasing, disposals and leasebacks. Other names to note include Thomas Boone, an expert in the financing and leasing of large assets.

Practice head(s):

Matthieu de Varax


Other key lawyers:

Thomas Boone; Charles Derollez


Testimonials

‘Available, responsive, very competent, even on technical or operational issues.’

‘Odi-sé is a firm specialising in aviation (commercial, business and military aviation), which is absolutely unique on the market. They are equipped with the best IT tools to prepare documentation quickly, efficiently and reliably.’

‘Matthieu de Varax, founder and partner of the firm, has extensive experience in aerospace financing. Trained to the best standards and with a very wide network in the industry, he now offers a tailor-made service that is highly-appreciated.’

Key clients

Flexam Invest


Air Caraïbes


French Bee


Rive Private Equipment


Nova Capital


Air Tahiti Nui


Work highlights


  • Advising French Bee and Air Caraïbes as lessees on the leasing of two new Airbus A350-1000.
  • Advising Iris Helicopter Leasing 2 Limited as lessor on the financing and leasing of four Airbus Helicopters H145 aircraft operated by the Babcock International Plc Group in Finland.

Reed Smith

Drawing on the bench strength of a global network spanning the US, Europe, the Middle East and Asia, the Paris aviation finance team at Reed Smith advises lenders, arrangers, lessors, leasing companies, export credit agencies and airlines on a comprehensive range of finance and leasing transactions.