Aviation finance in France

Norton Rose Fulbright

The 'world-class' team at Norton Rose Fulbright, which is led by the 'client-focused' George Paterson, advises prominent banks and financial institutions on matters including high-value aircraft financing and leasing, regulatory elements and financing structures. The team acts for clients including BNP Paribas and Société Générale and its work frequently has a cross-border element. Sébastien Allain is also recommended for his work with banks and airlines on cross-border financing and leasing, aircraft sale, and pre-delivery financing. Marc Hamilton is also noted.

Practice head(s):

George Paterson

Testimonials

Client focused and driven; excellent service and always available.

Well staffed, excellent knowledge of the aviation finance industry.

The aviation team at NRF are world-class.

George Paterson is world-class: he has a solution for everything.

Always finding solutions to problems.

Key clients

Bank of China

BNP Paribas

Bpifrance Assurance Export

Crédit Agricole

CIC

Crédit Suisse

Euler Hermes Deutschland AG

Export Development Canada

HSBC

Natixis

Société Générale

UK Export Finance

UniCredit Bank

Work highlights

  • Advised Export Development Canada, Bpifrance Assurance Export and Sace SPA on the financing and re-financing of up to eight ATR 72-600 and ATR 42-600 aircrafts, totalling €150m.
  • Acted for BNP Paribas on the restructuring of a combined commercial and French lease financing of seven 737 family aircraft for Bocomm leasing, with subleases to Kunming Airlines and Hainan Airlines.
  • Advised Crédit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China on French Lease financing combined with a 10-year commercial loan of a Boeing B777 Freighter for Turkish Airlines.

Hogan Lovells (Paris) LLP

Hogan Lovells (Paris) LLP works on a wide range of complex aviation finance matters, including acquisition financing, disposals, and agency-supported transactions. It has core strengths in various forms of alternative financings, including conditional sales, tax leases, buy-backs, and export credit agency facilities. The team works closely with the firm's UK and US teams to handle multi-jurisdictional deals. Clients include prominent international banks and financial institutions, manufacturers, and airlines. The practice is led by cross-border asset finance specialist Alexander Premont.

Practice head(s):

Alexander Premont

Key clients

Swissport Financing S.à r.l. / HNA Group Co Ltd

Société Générale

UBS

Natixis

CACIB

Work highlights

  • Advised the Swissport group on the financing and completion of its acquisition of Aerocare, including the negotiation of a €325m incremental term loan B facility provided by Barclays.
  • Acting for Société Générale on the financing via tax lease of Air Calédonie’s acquisition of two Airbus aircraft.
  • Advising Royal Air Maroc on the financing by way of sale-and-leaseback of one Boeing 787 by Natixis and other financial institutions.

Watson Farley & Williams LLP

Watson Farley & Williams LLP advises on high-value international financing arrangements for major banks and financial institutions, with the Bank of China a notable new client win. The team advises on complex alternative funding structures, including debt capital markets financing of leasing transactions, while the team's expertise has been recognised by its seat on the global Aviation Working Group panel, advising on the Global Aircraft Trading System. Charles Viggers relocated to Singapore in 2019.  Alexia Russell is the key name in Paris.

Practice head(s):

Charles Viggers; Alexia Russell

Testimonials

Very approachable team providing to-the-point advice. Excellent ability to get to the main issue quickly and very good negotiation skills.

The team met very demanding deadlines and were solid in their deal implementation.

The team’s services are very strong. We enjoy the fact that WFW have a number of international offices which can add expertise to local law matters. The firm is innovative and assisted us with aviation related private placement note issuances, which were understood to be market firsts. The team are also able to meet tight deadlines and are constantly able to deliver.

Excellent availability across the whole team and consistent hard work and application. Consistently keep to even difficult deadlines.

The Aircraft Finance and Banking team was exceptional. They linked in very well to their London office and provided a seamless solution across the offices. The team met very demanding deadlines and were solid in their deal implementation! Would use them again and again!

Charles Viggers was a great lead partner in the Paris office and was able to pull in the correct people within the office to cover off specific technical points. Philippe Wolanski’s knowledge of French banking and finance law was very good and he was able to explain difficult concepts well!’

The team shows great tactfulness in defusing the tension inherent to demanding transactions. Often, I have seen this team work for adverse parties but managing to get the best expectable result for all parties involved.

Key clients

Bank of China

BNP Paribas

BRED Banque Populaire

China Aircraft Leasing Group Holdings

Crédit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank

Crédit Industriel et Commercial

DekaBank Deutsche Girozentrale

Dubai Aerospace Enterprise

European ECAs (ECGD, Bpifrance Assurance Export and Euler Hermes)

Export-Import Bank of the United States

Hamburg Commercial Bank (fka HSH Nordbank)

ICBC Financial Leasing

Investec

KfW IPEX-Bank GmbH

La Banque Postale

Natixis

Société Générale

Work highlights

  • Advising Société Générale on a Jolco transaction for ICBC Financial Leasing Co. regarding two new A321 NEO aircraft to be leased to Vietnam Airlines.
  • Advising ATR on the refinancing guaranteed by Bpifrance Assurance Export, Sace and EDC of eight aircraft including six ATR 72 and two ATR 42, previously made available to Mexican airline Aeromar on an interim conditional sale basis.
  • Advising ATR on the €36m private placement bond in relation to the financing of the purchase and French tax leasing of two ATR72-600 aircraft for EWA Air.

HFW

HFW is a key name for high-value transactions in the aviation sector, acting primarily for airlines on acquisitions and leasing arrangements. The team's work includes bank financing, loans and leasing, and refinancing. The practice is led by Pierre Frühling. Richard Jadot joined Ravet & Associés in December 2019.

Practice head(s):

Pierre Frühling

Mayer Brown

Mayer Brown has strong expertise in financing and advises on a wide variety of deal structures including traditional and export credit, leasing, tax exemption, and leaseback arrangements. The team largely advises major banks on the creditor side, including BNP Paribas and Société Générale, where it is aided by the banking and finance experience of the team. Practice head Alban Dorin acts on all sides of aviation finance deals, acting for airlines, operators, and manufacturers, as well as banking clients.

Practice head(s):

Alban Dorin

Testimonials

To the point and practical commercial legal advice & assistance.

Alban Dorin and Elise Baha make a solid bilingual team with the right balance between partner and associate level assistance.

Key clients

BNP Paribas

Société Générale

Odi-Sé Avocats

Matthieu de Varax leads the team at Odi-Sé Avocats, which specialises in advising on financing for the acquisition of aircraft for private business use.

Reed Smith

Led by Victoria Westcott, the team at Reed Smith advises on a range of financing transactions, demonstrating great versatility across finance leasing, pre- and post-delivery deals, export credit, and capital markets-connected work. Clients include banks and other lenders, lessors, airlines, and credit agencies, with a focus on the lender side.

Practice head(s):

Victoria Westcott

Stephenson Harwood

Stephenson Harwood advises clients on pre- and post-delivery financing and restructuring of existing arrangements. The team acts on major financings and restructurings involving French banks, as well as international deals. In one highlight, the team advised Air Cote D'Ivoire on financing three Airbus aircraft and refinancing two existing aircraft, with funding from the public and private sectors of Africa Development Bank. Edward Campbell leads the practice and has particular expertise in structuring transactions in a shari'ah-compliant manner.

Practice head(s):

Edward Campbell

Key clients

Air Côte d’Ivoire (ACI)

Lion Air Group

Merlin Aviation Holdings DAC

Airasia

Avico Group

Castelake

Avolon (formerly CIT)

Aergo

XL Airways France

CIC (Crédit Industriel et Commercial)

Work highlights

  • Advising Transportation Partners and its affiliated airlines on the acquisition and financing of a number of Boeing 737 aircraft, and ATR 72 aircraft and aircraft engines.
  • Acted for Castlelake on several asset-based securitisations involving French and Indonesian registered aircraft.
  • Advising Babcock and Brown Aircraft Management on a transfer of ownership and lease agreement novation with Air France, Transavia and ASL Airlines France.

Stream – Avocats et Solicitors

Laurence Hanley heads up the practice at Stream – Avocats et Solicitors, which focuses on financing work on the borrower side, advising a number of commercial and specialist operators on leasing, purchase and sale, and structuring. The team is particularly focused on cross-border finance structuring and it acts for several international companies. The group, which includes several internationally qualified lawyers, has expertise in transactions involving multiple jurisdictions.

Practice head(s):

Laurence Hanley

Key clients

Air France – KLM

Transavia France

HOP!-Regional SAS

Wijet

Work highlights

  • Advising Air France on the financing of an B787-9 aircraft.
  • Advising Air France on the financing of Air France’s first A350, via Jolco.
  • Acting for Société Air France on the novation of the lease agreement in relation to one Boeing B777-300ER following the sale of the aircraft, and an accompanying securitisation.