Firms To Watch: Transport finance and leasing

Established in September 2010, boutique maritime firm Campbell Johnston Clark has strong overarching expertise across an array of contentious and non-contentious work in the sector.
Despite being more visible across Europe and Asia, the Norwegian-based shipping heavyweight Wikborg Rein derives a not inconsiderable deal flow handling the UK law financing needs of its strong Norwegian-based operator client base.

Transport finance and leasing in London

Allen & Overy LLP

Benefiting from vast industry knowledge and also able to draw upon the firm's strength in various complementary practice areas, including capital markets and restructuring, Allen & Overy LLP's five-partner team is well-positioned to advise a varied mix of stakeholders across the full range of transportation assets, from a new money as well as a distressed perspective. Paul Nelson heads an aviation sub-group that is emblematic of the eclectic nature of the firm's workflow, including as it does work for lessors, export credit agencies (ECAs), commercial banks and funds, throughout the full life cycle of aviation finance. Nelson is frequently involved in the most complex, often heavily structured finance mandates undertaken by the team, including his recent work for a Dubai-based lessor on the establishment of a Reg S/Rule 144A Sukuk programme and the subsequent debut issuance of $750m trust certificates. Harry Upcott is also a pivotal member of the team, particularly in light of his ability to effectively represent a vibrant lessor client base across a range of portfolio deals and leasing transactions. The 'excellent' Kevin Young  has a strong reputation advising both bank and non-bank lenders on the financing/refinancing of vessels, including cruise ships, while for rail work Jonathan Bevan is the main contact. Mario Jacovides heads up the firm's overarching structured and asset finance offering that regularly draws from the expertise of lawyers based across the wide international network of offices on cross-border mandates.

Practice head(s):

Mario Jacovides

Other key lawyers:

Paul Nelson; Jon Bevan; Kevin Young; Harry Upcott; Linda Roxburgh

Testimonials

Kevin Young is excellent.’

Key clients

BoComm Aviation Leasing Ireland

Bpifrance

UK Export Finance

Dubai Aerospace Enterprise (DAE)

Falko

Vistara

AFIC

IAG Group Airlines

Integrated Finance Linked Insurance (IFLI) (division of Piiq Risk Partners)

Cargolux

Stonepeak

Arctic Transshipment

Arctic LNG 2

De Poli Tankers

ING Bank

Varde Partners

VTB Leasing Group

3i Infrastructure

Angel Trains

Alpha Trains/Arcus

Beacon Rail

Equitix

Eversholt Rail

Hitachi

EIB

Work highlights

  • Advising the European ECAs in relation to the restructuring of Avianca’s fleet of 53 ECA supported aircraft, including both its Airbus and ATR fleet.
  • Advised the Dubai Aerospace Enterprise on the establishment of a Reg S/Rule 144A Sukuk programme and the subsequent debut issuance of $750m trust certificates.
  • Advised VTB Leasing on the restructuring and payment deferral under aircraft lease agreements with the Aeroflot group in respect of 67 aircraft in light of Covid- 19.

Clifford Chance LLP

Benefiting from ‘deep resource levels‘ from London as well as across Europe, Asia and the US, Clifford Chance LLP is particularly well-suited to advising a  balanced array of stakeholders, including banks, funds, lessors, operators and ECAs, on large cross-jurisdictional deals across asset classes. The ‘versatile and solutions-focused‘ team head William Glaister is recognised as a ‘real guru of the aviation sector‘, as a result of his many years’ of experience in the space for banks and lessors in particular, across a myriad of transactions. Glaister is well-versed in handling mandates structured utilising purely commercial debt as well as in matters underwritten by ECAs; he recently represented UK Export Finance, the syndicate of commercial lenders and the facility agent on the £2bn UK Export Finance guaranteed five-year loan facility for British Airways. ‘Hardworking and fully committed to getting a deal across the line‘, Oliver Hipperson is particularly noted for his buy and sell-side loan portfolio work in the aviation and maritime sectors. The ‘smart, diligent and client-focusedRanbir Hunjan has an excellent reputation advising banks on aviation and rail finance transactions and is a key member of the team that also includes recently promoted partner Richard Evans, who is well regarded by borrowers and lenders for his aptitude at handling often highly structured aviation finance transactions.

Practice head(s):

William Glaister

Other key lawyers:

Ranbir Hunjan; Paul Carrington; Oliver Hipperson; Richard Evans; Chris Hardisty; Pete Buckley

Testimonials

The highly experienced aviation finance team is rightly very well regarded in the industry. A number of the lawyers have experience of prior secondment with aviation lessors and financiers, which provides them with a rounded knowledge of the issues, practicalities and perspectives of clients.’

The London-based aviation team has full visibility and a deep understanding of the aviation sector.’

Highly professional and with deep resource levels, the team is able to advise and execute on complex and time-pressured projects in a timely and efficient manner.’

A strong, well resourced team that is very able to take on multiple large cross-jurisdictional deals and provide comprehensive service globally.’

William Glaister is responsive, versatile, solution-focused and highly effective. He is a real “guru” in the aviation space!’

William Glaister and Oliver Hipperson offer excellent service and advice and have always made themselves available (often at short notice and at odd hours) on deals, as well as being key contacts to discuss market changes/trends.’

The hardworking Oliver Hipperson is fully committed to getting the deal across the line.’ 

Ranbir Hunjan is smart, diligent and client focused.’

Key clients

GE Capital Aviation Services

Investec

SMBC Aviation Capital

Deutsche Bank

Avolon

Maersk

Goshawk Aviation Limited

Rock Rail

GTLK

SMBC Leasing

Airborne Capital

Work highlights

  • Acting for UKEF, the lending syndicate and the agent on UKEF’s £2bn supported facility for British Airways.
  • Advised SMBC Aviation Capital in relation to the sale and leaseback of six A320neo aircraft to easyJet.
  • Advised the agent and lenders in respect of the drawdown of a $500m secured revolving credit facility in connection with 26 Airbus A320 aircraft.

Milbank

Led from London by James Cameron and Nick Swinburne, who both 'have a winning combination of market knowledge and technical know-how', Milbank's 'highly commercial' 12-strong team excels in advising investor and creditor-side clients on high-value and complex aviation finance mandates. The group's ability to leverage the resources of the firm's market-leading US offering is also a major draw for clients, ensuring that they are well served across UK and New York-law governed financings, in both new money and restructuring contexts. The fluidity of the team's service, which frequently works in unison with the broader capital markets offering, is also a major selling point to clients, particularly as it relates to work on highly complex structured finance mandates. In spite of the pandemic's impact on new money deals in the market, the team has been well-positioned to pick up work in a distressed/insolvency context, particularly in light of its ability to advise on Chapter 11 procedures both out of London and New York. Special counsel Richard Walton is also recommended.

Practice head(s):

James Cameron; Nick Swinburne

Other key lawyers:

Richard Walton; Siddharth Sharma

Testimonials

They are a go-to firm for high-value or complicated asset finance transactions and the quality of the legal product provided is always excellent. They also have the added advantage of an equally strong New York law practice.’

In depth, and importantly current, market knowledge of financing and leasing practices, close knit and support each other well providing depth of coverage for client.’

‘The partners in the aviation team have put their practice at the forefront of the industry and appear as key advisers in most, if not all, of the landmark aviation deals on financings, M&A and structured transactions.’

A highly commercial team that is involved in most of the major transactions, which gives them a deep understanding of the industry.’

James Cameron and Nick Swinburne have a winning combination of market knowledge and technical know-how, that is unsurpassed among the leading law firms in aircraft finance.’

Nick Swinburne – outstanding industry knowledge, provides clear, decisive and succinct advice in a timely and efficient manner.’

Nick Swinburne is an exceptional lawyer who balances excellent technical legal skills with astute commercial judgement and works extremely hard to deliver the best outcome for his clients.’

Key clients

AerCap

Air France

Ares

Avolon

Bank of China (Aviation)

Barclays

Barings

BBAM/NBB

BNP Paribas

Brookfield

CDB Leasing

Centerbridge

Citibank

Credit Suisse

Crédit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank

Deutsche Bank

Elix Aviation Capital

Embraer

Export Development Canada

Goshawk Aviation

HSBC

Investec

JP Morgan

KKR

M&G Investments

Magi

Meta

Morgan Stanley

MUFG

Natixis

NCB Capital

Novus Aviation Capital

Oaktree

ORIX

PIMCO

Silverpoint

SMBC

Standard Chartered

Stratos

TrueNoord

TUI

volofin Capital Management Ltd

Work highlights

  • Lead counsel to the arranger/lender in the provision of a $300m secured aircraft warehouse facility to Bleriot Aviation Funding Designated Activity Company (a JV between Airbus and JP Lease).
  • Advised the arranger/lender on the provision of a $750m bridge facility to British Airways.
  • Advised various groups of senior creditors on financings with a combined value of circa $500m in respect of 17 Boeing 737-800 aircraft, in connection with the Norwegian Airlines group examinership and reconstruction processes.

Norton Rose Fulbright

Perhaps the most balanced and well-resourced offering in the market, the ‘highly skilled and effective‘ 22-partner team at Norton Rose Fulbright is able to handle a tremendous range and volume of finance mandates across all the main transport asset classes. Shipping remains the heartbeat of the practice, and the ‘very professional‘ team, which is also able to call upon assistance from practitioners in key maritime centres, including Hamburg and Piraeus, has effectively been able to guide a myriad of stakeholders, including owners, lessors, banks and funds, through the choppy waters left in the wake of the pandemic. The ‘pragmatic and solutions-drivenSimon Hartley has a ‘very strong and precious franchise in the cruise sector‘ and has an excellent perspective from both lender and borrower side as a result of his strong ties with commercial banks, ECAs and operators. Indeed, along with the firm’s Hamburg office, he recently assisted core client Carnival on its $6bn capital raising. Eleanor Martin is ‘wonderful to work with‘, and has developed particular expertise in relation to the financing of offshore equipment, including support vessels, FPSOs and drilling rigs. Simon Gwynne and Tom Johnson are key practitioners within the firm’s thriving rail practice, which continues to handle a range of finance and leasing work for private and public sector stakeholders, both from a purely domestic as well as international perspective. On the aviation front, the firm has lender and borrower-side expertise across the spectrum of new money and restructuring mandates, including sale and leasebacks and ECA-backed financings. Duncan Batchelor is particularly well known for advising on high-value, structured financings including Japanese, French, UK and Luxembourg lease structures, and transactions involving portfolios of aircraft. Will Alete also continues to impress, primarily as a result of his work for new and established airlines; he was promoted to partner in January 2021, as was Andrew Williams, who covers a broad range of sectors.

Practice head(s):

Duncan Batchelor

Other key lawyers:

Owen Mulholland; Giles Brand; Tom Johnson; Simon Gwynne; Simon Hartley; Simon Lew; Richard Howley; Eleanor Martin; Will Alete; Dan Cowdy; Andrew Williams; Richard Green

Testimonials

The team is very professional and able to manage complicated transactions while meeting ultra challenging deadlines.’

Norton Rose Fulbright are the market leaders in aircraft structured asset financing.’

It is a highly skilled and effective team.’

The pragmatic and solutions-driven Simon Hartley is a highly talented legal advisor, managing complicated situations calmly. He is very hands on and knows how to get a deal done.’

Owen Mulholland has a wealth of knowledge in all aspects of aircraft financing with a particular strength in dealing with complex aircraft purchase agreements.’

Simon Hartley has a very strong and precious franchise on the cruise sector. He not only understands legal situations but also the commercial situations.’

Eleanor Martin is wonderful to work with.’

Dan Cowdy has excellent in depth knowledge of our business and our agreements. He is always available and offers sound and balanced advice.’

Key clients

Amedeo + Voyager Aviation

Gener8 Maritime Inc.

ABN AMRO Bank N.V.

BNP Paribas

Carnival Corp.

Citigroup

Crédit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank

Crown Commercial Services Rail panel

DNB Markets, Inc.

DHL

DP Aircraft/ DS Aviation

DVB

easyJet

Eversholt

Equitix

Global Ship Lease

The Go-Ahead Group

InterGlobe Aviation Limited (IndiGo)

John Laing Infrastructure Fund

JP Morgan

KfW IPEX-Bank GmbH

Lagos State Government

Lombard North Central PLC

Polskie Linie Lotnicze LOT S.A.

Macquarie

NORD/LB

ORIX Corporation

P&O Ferries

Clover Aviation Capital(formally Ping An Aircraft Leasing Company Limited)

Prime Capital AG

Qatar National Bank

Qatar Reinsurance

SACE S.p.A.

Scandinavian Airlines System (SAS)

Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken AB (SEB)

Stadler Rail

Standard Chartered Bank

Stena

Société Générale

Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation

UK Export Finance

UniCredit

Volga Dnepr Airlines (Ireland) Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised easyJet on the sale and leaseback of 56 of its Airbus A320 NEO family and A320 CEO family aircraft with seven lessor counterparties, enabling the airline to generate over $1.8bn of cash proceeds.
  • Advised SMBC Leasing (UK) and Equitix on the termination of the Wales and Borders franchise, effectively nationalising passenger rail operations on those lines. The firm’s advice included the transfer of agreements in respect of the finance, purchase and leasing of over £1bn rolling stock.
  • Advised KfW IPEX-Bank GmbH and Carnival corporation in relation to the ‘Cruise Holiday Principles’ introduced by the German ECA Hermes in March 2020 in response to the impact of Covid-19 on the cruise sector which were then adopted in the same or similar form by the other European export credit agencies.

Watson Farley & Williams LLP

Benefitting from strength-in-depth out of London and also able to draw upon resources in key global transport hubs throughout Europe and Asia, Watson Farley & Williams LLP is able to provide ‘highly commercial advice‘ to clients across the spectrum of financing and leasing transactions, from a purely domestic as well as cross-border context. Maritime-related work continues to inform much of the deal flow and the firm’s balanced offering for both owners and banks affords it a ‘unique understanding of all matters relevant to the transaction and the needs of the relevant parties‘. The ‘exceptionalLindsey Keeble exemplifies the firm’s comprehensive coverage in the sector and is praised for her ability to provide ‘clear, innovative and solutions-oriented advice‘ to banks and owners on ECA-backed financings and loan refinancings, particularly in the cruise and LNG space. Under the guidance of the ‘creative, innovative and commercialJim Bell, the firm’s presence in the aviation finance market also continues to grow. Praised for his ability to ‘combine deep legal knowledge with a complete understanding of transaction economics‘, Bell has developed particularly strong ties with lenders and lessors, which are appreciative of his ‘depth of market knowledge, including on slightly off-the-wall stuff.’  In addition to her work on the aviation front, Louise Mor is the principal contact at the firm for rail finance.

Practice head(s):

Lindsey Keeble

Other key lawyers:

Jim Bell; Louise Mor; Oliver Tebbit; Patrick Kirkby; Richard Dibble; Dominic Pearson; Patrick Moore; Pete O’Hare; Gary Walsh; Kavita Shah; Chris Mitchell

Testimonials

The firm has a very strong ship financing team that on a frequent basis assists both ship owners and banks. The fact that they assist both groups gives them a unique understanding of all matters relevant to the transaction and the needs of the relevant parties.’

It is an experienced firm with a huge depth of expertise in aviation financing and aircraft leasing. What sets them apart is that they work with me as if they were part of my own in-house deal team.’

Building on the firm’s well-known strength in shipping, Watson Farley & Williams has become thought leaders in aviation. The quality of content produced is indicative of the strength of the team.’

‘Working with the team is a pleasure, as they are highly commercial, and immediately understand the realities that underpin a transaction, focusing on what is important, without undue wasted effort on what is not.’

Lindsey Keeble’s knowledge, capabilities and negotiation skills are perfectly recognised in the market. We always follow her advice when we need guidance on complex deal structuring and she has been of wonderful help over the last decade for our group.’

Lindsey Keeble is an exceptional lawyer, extremely capable and knowledgeable, and commercial and pragmatic in her approach. She gives clear advice, is innovative and solution oriented. She is well respected at both sides of the table and simply stands out on the legal scene within financing in the maritime sector.’

Jim Bell is, in my opinion, the number one lawyer in aircraft finance. There are a handful of excellent lawyers in the space that have deep legal knowledge; there is only one that combines this knowledge with a complete understanding of transaction economics.’

Jim Bell is an exceptional lawyer who is able to find creative, innovative and commercial solutions to complex problems. Jim is extremely intelligent, skilled and an excellent negotiator, but also friendly and commercially pragmatic. Jim has also built an ambitious and extremely talented aviation finance team around him.’

Key clients

Aviation Working Group

Avolon

Castlelake

Citibank Europe Plc

Investec Bank

KfW IPEX-Bank

Macquarie Bank

MUFG Bank

Nordea Bank

Standard Chartered Bank

Teekay Tankers

Wilmington Trust

Work highlights

  • Advised, among other creditor groups, the bondholders in relation to Virgin Atlantic Airways’ landmark £1.2bn restructuring and recapitalisation plan which completed in early September 2020.
  • Advised Macquarie Bank in relation to the securitisation of certain underlying loans for Fleetscape Capital Limited in respect of the financing of ships on lease to various lessees.
  • Advised Nordea Bank on a $713m sustainability-linked loan facility for Euronav NV.

Dentons

Led by Nick Chandler, the ‘very experienced and super responsive‘ team at Dentons is best-known for its aviation finance work for a balanced array of airlines, manufacturers, lessors and lenders. Although a good deal of the recent work handled by the team had a restructuring flavour to it, from advising lessors on deferral exercises, through to more formal insolvency mandates, the team also managed to close some notable new money mandates. Chandler was at the forefront of much of this work, including his representation of TUI Group on the $84m pre-delivery financing provided by Carlyle Partners to fund the purchase of 12 Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft. Serge Sergiou continues to spearhead the firm’s relationship with Airbus, including advising it, alongside the firm’s Dublin office, as a stakeholder in relation to the Irish Examinership of Norwegian Air Services. The ‘very experiencedPaul Holland is also recommended across a range of commercial and ECA-backed financings, as well as on work involving a significant nexus with the Middle East.

Practice head(s):

Nick Chandler

Other key lawyers:

Serge Sergiou; Paul Holland; Sarah Dyke; Stephen Temple; Lee McLernon; James Francis

Testimonials

It is a very experienced team and super responsive. It compares very well with other firms we use as they proactively push through issues with sensible suggestions that work for us.’

Paul Holland is very experienced.’

‘Lee McLernon is excellent.’

Key clients

Emirates

TUI Group

Qatar Airways

Goshawk Aviation

Chorus Aviation

Avolon Aerospace

Wizz Air

TAP Airlines, Portugal

Société Générale

Airbus (including Airbus Financial Services, Airbus Helicopters Leasing Services and Airbus Helicopters)

Bocomm Leasing

Engine Lease Finance Corporation

ALAFCO

The Export–Import Bank of China

ORIX

airBaltic

National Australia Bank

Bank of Montreal

The Air Ambulance Service

Domodedovo Airport

Avia Solutions Group

LCI Operations Limited

Omni Helicopters International

Work highlights

  • Advised Airbus in relation to the Irish Examinership of the Norwegian Air Services.
  • Advising long-standing client TUI on a $84m pre-delivery payment financing provided by Carlyle Partners in respect of 12 Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft.
  • Advising the arrangers and dealers on the establishment of Wizz Air’s €3bn Euro Medium Term Note Programme and subsequently advising the joint lead managers on the debut drawdown under the programme.

Hogan Lovells International LLP

Led from London by Robert Fugard and able to tap into broader firmwide resources spread across Europe and the US, Hogan Lovells International LLP‘s ‘dynamic‘ three-partner team provides a ‘thoughtful and flexible approach‘ to clients implementing a myriad of commercial debt, ECA-backed and capital markets funded solutions to facilitate the acquisition, financing and disposal of aircraft. The scope of the client base, which includes lessors, lenders and airlines, ensures that the firm has an excellent perspective of client needs and a broader knowledge of the anatomy of a deal, in both a restructuring and new money context. Fugard continues to handle a considerable amount of work for Norwegian Air Shuttle, including in the context of its use of Irish examinership, US Chapter 7 and UK insolvency proceedings in order to restructure its business. ‘Highly experienced and knowledgeable but attentive to the day-to-day needs of his clients’, Richard Goss has built up a strong reputation among lessors, which have appreciated his work on portfolio transactions and new operating leases, as well as more recently helping to guide them through the economic travails imposed on them by the pandemicAlexander Premont, who splits his time between the firm’s Paris and London offices, advises lenders and borrowers on ship financing mandates and is also a key member of the overarching asset finance team that includes rail expert Charles Ford.

Practice head(s):

Robert Fugard

Other key lawyers:

Alexander Premont; Richard Goss; Shalini Bhuchar; Russell Green; Faraz Naqvi; Charles Ford; Stephanie Saunders

Testimonials

This is a hands-on, relationship based and dynamic practice. The team offers a thoughtful and flexible approach with a great ability to meet the bespoke needs of their clients and tailor their work accordingly.’

Richard Goss is a great embodiment of Hogan Lovells’ approach, in being highly experienced and knowledgeable but attentive to the day-to-day needs of his clients and always available for direct contact and consistent but tailored service with a refreshing approachability.’

Richard Goss displays excellent client care.’

Faraz Naqvi is the very essence of a rising star. He clearly loves his work and has an uncommon depth of knowledge to match. He anticipates client needs and offers practical solutions without ever needing to be chased. He also understands how to appropriately match his style on individual deals to the stance of the business partners of his clients.’

Stephanie Saunders – rising star, calm and collected manner, commercial advice and very likeable.’

Key clients

Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA/Arctic Aviation Assets DAC

Standard Chartered Bank/Pembroke Capital

Rolls Royce & Partners Finance

Icelandair ehf.

Babcock Mission Critical Services

UBS AG

AMCK Aviation (formerly Accipiter and MCAP)

Minsheng Commercial Aviation

Société Générale

Natixis

Bank of China Aviation (BOCA)

African Export-Import Bank

Volotea

Rail Baltica

Cross London Trains Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA on its use of Irish examinership, US Chapter 7 and UK insolvency proceedings in order to restructure its business.
  • Advising Volotea S.L, the Spanish low-cost airline, on its fleet optimisation and Airbus re-fleeting programme.
  • Advising Rail Baltica on the multibillion-euro High Speed Rail Baltica project – the largest Baltic-region infrastructure project in the last 100 years.

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP

Praised for its ability to ‘easily transfer deal and transaction knowledge between themselves‘, and also well integrated into the firm’s global offering (which includes US and Asia-based capabilities), Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP‘s ‘highly knowledgeable‘ two-partner London-based team punches above its weight and is seen with great regularity on large-ticket asset finance deals for a varied array of stakeholders. ‘Commercial, thoughful and very experienced‘ team head Graham Tyler has an excellent perspective of both borrower and lender-side requirements by virtue of his involvement on commercial debt and ECA-backed financings throughout the capital structure for both banks and airlines. The ‘creative and thoughtful‘ Debra Erni is the other partner in the team and continues to handle a significant volume of work for Japanese lessors in particular, across the full spectrum of their leasing, financing and trading requirements. Counsel Chris Knight provides ‘professional, prompt and responsive‘ advice to lessors, banks and airlines across a range of cross-border aircraft and engine finance transactions. Antony Single joined the team from Clifford Chance LLP in June 2021.

Practice head(s):

Graham Tyler

Other key lawyers:

Debra Erni; Rakhi Savjani; Chris Knight; Jonathan Maidwell; Antony Single

Testimonials

A very responsive team with a focus on delivering a complete product.’

Smaller UK team who work well together and can easily transfer deal and transaction knowledge between themselves. They link in very well to the larger US network.’

The team has a wealth of experience – they work across the capital structure and have a creative accommodating approach to reacting to the ever changing market.’

The aviation finance team is hugely knowledgeable and provides timely and accurate advice from varying perspectives that help give a more strategic view to the issue at hand. They are constantly developing on their know how and address previously problematic issues in new deals to avoid the same issue coming up.’

Graham Tyler exemplifies the idea of a trusted legal counsel by not only providing quality legal work but also taking the time to understand our needs and actively looking for chances to introduce new business opportunities to us.

Graham Tyler is commercial, thoughtful and one of the most experienced lawyers in the aviation space globally. It doesn’t matter how complex the situation we are looking at is, Graham has seen all of it before.’

Debra Erni is a creative and thoughtful lawyer.’

Chris Knight gets the deal done professionally, promptly and accurately.’

Key clients

Air Lease Corporation

ALAFCO

Bank of Tokyo (BOT) Lease

Chishima Real Estate

Chorus Aviation Capital (Ireland) Limited

CDB Aviation

Deucalion Aviation Capital Limited

Dubai Aerospace Enterprise

DVB Bank

Emirates Airlines

Ethiopian Airlines

Erste Bank AG

Export Development Canada

FALKO

HPS Investment Partners LLC

ICBC Leasing

Investec

Jackson Square Aviation

Kuwait Airlines

LATAM

MCAP

Macquarie AirFinance

Minsheng Financial Leasing

Mitsubishi UFJ Lease & Finance

Oaktree Capital Management

Sky Leasing

SMBC Aero Engine Lease

Sumitomo Mitsui Finance and Leasing

TrueNoord Regional Aircraft Leasing

World Star Aviation

Work highlights

  • Represented a syndicate of ten lenders, including KfW, CACIB and BNP Paribas, in connection with a significant warehouse financing for aircraft lessor Avolon.
  • Acting for Export Development Canada as sole lender in connection with the long-term financing of VistaJet’s purchase of five Global 7500 aircraft and ten Challenger 350 aircraft, having already worked on the initial pre-delivery payment financing in respect of certain of the aircraft due to be delivered.
  • Represented Macquarie AirFinance in connection with the restructuring and re-registration of a portfolio of financed aircraft on lease to Vietnamese airline VietJet, transitioning the aircraft to its sister company Thai VietJet in Thailand.

Stephenson Harwood

Although it is perhaps less visible in the highest profile and most complex mandates in the market, Stephenson Harwood handles a sizeable pipeline of work by dint of the strong and well-established relationships it has forged over the years with both capital providers and owners across the spectrum of asset classes. Ian Mace heads up the firm's ship finance offering and has been responsible for broadening the client base to include an increasing number of non-bank lenders. Jonathan Ward has vast experience at handling cross-border financings and restructurings for owners and lenders, including matters involving a significant Chinese complexion. Richard Parsons has good traction among banks and lessors and leads the aviation finance offering that was recently strengthened by the arrival in September 2020 of the 'sensible and very practical' Rebecca Garner from Addleshaw Goddard, particularly in light of her credentials on the corporate jet front. Tammy Samuel regularly handles financing work, including as it pertains to rolling stock procurement, as part of her wide-ranging transactional, commercial and regulatory rail offering. The team is rounded out by Lisa Marks, who in addition to advising on rail finance matters, also handles a range of more general equipment finance and leasing matters. Senior associate Jon Cripps joined in April 2021 from Milbank.

Practice head(s):

Tammy Samuel (Head of finance/Co-head of Rail); Suzanne Tarplee (Co-head of Rail); Ian Mace (Head of Ship Finance); Richard Parsons (Head of Aviation Finance); Lisa Marks (Head of Equipment Finance and Leasing)

Other key lawyers:

Jonathan Ward; Dora Mace-Kokota; Julie Clegg; Neil Noble; Rebecca Garner; James Collins; Charlotte McNeilly; Kulraj Badhesha; Jon Cripps

Testimonials

They have an excellent culture which means they are not only very knowledgeable and effective but they listen carefully and draw out all appropriate information from clients.’

The team is very knowledgeable in the aircraft leasing space. It is also very practical in their solutions and advice.’

Suzanne Tarplee has superb knowledge and is excellent at applying it.’

‘Rebecca Garner is commercial, sensible and very practical.’

Key clients

ABN AMRO Bank N.V.

Alliance Laundry Finance Limited

Altavair

Deutsche Bank Aktiengesellschaft

DNB Bank ASA

Macquarie

EnTrust Global’s Blue Ocean Funds (Entrust)

Rock Infrastructure

Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation

Investec Asset Finance Plc

JP Morgan

Archway Aviation

Taiping Fontainburg DVB Aviation Capital

Gulfair

MUFG Bank, Ltd.

Rostrum Leasing

Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited

Avation PLC

Volotea, S.L

IndiGo

Aircraft Leasing and Management

Sky Leasing

BNP Paribas

Australia and New Zealand Banking Group

Oaktree Capital Management/Fleetscape Capital Management

Work highlights

  • Advised Fleetscape on an innovative financing structure with Macquarie Bank.
  • Advised EnTrust on a $27.5m loan facility to PT Buana Lintas Lautan TBK.
  • Advised a major European bank in relation to a secured loan facility made available to the UK based drybulk owner Seastar.

Vedder Price

A longstanding presence at the pinnacle of the US aviation finance market, Vedder Price's 'intelligent, hardworking and diligent' four-partner London-based team has mirrored the firm's transatlantic success and has effectively developed a very strong offering, that is as comfortable handling standalone financing and leasing mandates governed purely under UK law, as it is on mandates which are subject to both English and New York law.  Bank and lessor clients continue to inform much of the deal flow, and are appreciative of the team's 'excellent understanding of the sector' and its ability to handle the full range of mandates, including commercial and ECA-supported loan financings and portfolio financings. 'The calm and collected' Neil Poland has 'very good industry knowledge' gleaned over many years of experience across a range of loan and capital markets structures and is a key member of the team that also includes Gavin Hill and Dylan Potter. 'Outstanding' team head Derek Watson displays a 'very calm and effective style of negotiation', particularly as it relates to work in the private/corporate jet space.

Practice head(s):

Derek Watson

Other key lawyers:

Gavin Hill; Neil Poland; Dylan Potter; John Pearson; Natalie Chung

Testimonials

The very proactive and responsive team provides an exceptional service.’

It is a strong team that is always great to deal with.’

We have 23 different law offices representing us in 12 countries and Vedder Price is by far the most knowledgeable, professional and responsive of all our firms.’

The team is intelligent, hardworking and diligent.’

The team can almost function as an extension of our in-house legal department. They have a a very good understanding of our sector as well as how we operate as a business.’

Derek Watson is simply outstanding – one of the best we work with and always a pleasure to deal with. He is technically superb but always pragmatic and commercially focused in his advice and has a very calm and effective style of negotiation.’

Neil Poland is very calm and collected and has good industry knowledge.’

Key clients

AAR Corp

Aero Capital Solutions

Airbus

Airbus Financial Services

Air Canada

Aircastle

Alterna Capital

Apple Bank

Arab Banking Corporation

Australia and New Zealand Banking Group

AviaAm Leasing

Bank of America

Bank of China

BBAM

BNP

Castlelake

Cathay United Bank

China Aircraft Leasing Company

China Construction Bank

CIT

Citibank

Commerzbank

Commonwealth Bank of Australia

Crédit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank (CA-CIB)

DBS Bank (Development Bank of Singapore)

DekaBank

Doha Bank

Dubai Aerospace Enterprise

DVB Bank

Export Development Canada

GSI Engines

Guggenheim Partners

Helaba (Landesbank Hessen-Thüringen Gironzentrale)

ICBC (Industrial and Commercial Bank of China)

ING Bank

Intrepid Aviation

Investec

KEB Hana Bank

KfW IPEX-Bank

Korea Development Bank

LCI (Lease Corporation International)

LHI (Leasing für Handel und Industrie)

Lloyds Bank

Lobo Leasing

Macquarie Bank

Magi Aviation Capital (f.k.a. Magi Partners)

Mega International Commercial Bank

MUFG

National Australia Bank

National Bank of Abu Dhabi

National Bank of Kuwait

New York Life Insurance Company

Norddeutsche Landesbank Girozentrale (Nord/LB)

Nordic Aviation Capital

ORIX Aviation

Qatar National Bank

Siemens Financial Services

Société Générale

SKY Leasing

Standard Chartered Bank

Stonebriar Commercial Finance

Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation Europe

TAG Aviation

Virgo Investments

volofin

Westpac Banking Corporation

Woori Bank

Work highlights

  • Represented Apple Bank, as lender, on the first financing utilising the new Standard Buyer Loan Guarantee programme established by UK Export Finance, in this case supporting manufacturing equipment to be used in Tunisia.
  • Represented volofin on the financing of six 737-800 P2F aircraft for KV Aviation. The aircraft have been leased to ASL and are being converted to freighter configuration.

White & Case LLP

Benefiting from an ‘an extensive knowledge of the aviation industry and its best practice’, White & Case LLP provides ‘responsive and knowledgeable‘ advice to a varied array of stakeholders including banks, ECAs, lessors and airlines. Led out of London by the ‘quick thinking, calm and reasonableJustin Benson and also able to leverage the expertise of lawyers based across the Americas and Asia, the team is partcularly well-positioned to advise on cross-border mandates, including heavily structured financings for operating lessors.

Practice head(s):

Justin Benson

Other key lawyers:

David Wright; Andrew Harper; Zahra Knapper

Testimonials

White & Case understand both the bank lending and operating lease markets inside out and successfully combine this “know-how” for our benefit as a client.’

Not only are they responsive, engaging and knowledgeable but they are great people to catch-up with and talk to on the phone. This is something I love to see in people I am working with.’

They have an extensive knowledge of the aviation industry and its best practice.’

Any aviation financier without Justin Benson’s number on speed dial enters the market woefully underprepared.’

Justin stands out from partners at other firms on account of (i) his extensive commercial knowledge and market awareness; (ii) his measured, concise and always invaluable guidance on commercial as well as legal issues and his ability to tailor that advice for everyone from the most junior team member to the CEO; and (iii) his calm, reasonable but firm approach to negotiations combined with an apparent sixth sense and quick thinking.’

Zahra Knapper is one of the best associates I have had the pleasure of working with. She is knowledgeable in her field and quick in her response times.’

Key clients

AMCK Aviation

CDB Aviation Lease Finance

Bpifrance

Euler Hermes

UK Export Finance

KfW IPEX-Bank GmbH

Carlyle Aviation

BNDES

Banco Santander

Nordea Bank

Work highlights

  • Advised the mandated lead arrangers on a term loan facility for Eurocontrol.
  • Representation of CDB Leasing in connection with the sale and leaseback of three A320 aircraft on lease to Frontier Airlines.
  • Advised the financiers on a landmark $3bn first in class hybrid corporate financing to Nigeria LNG Limited (NLNG), a joint venture owned by Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Shell, Total and Eni to develop the NLNG Train 7 Project.

Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP

The 'thorough and focused' five-partner team at Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP provides a 'commercial and responsive' service to an eclectic mix of stakeholders engaged in the financing and leasing of a range of transportation assets. The firm remains perhaps best-known, however, for its work in the rail sector, where 'strategic' team head Russell Clifford  and Jamie Wiseman-Clarke, who has an 'eagle eye-for-detail', have particularly strong credentials -  in part due to their longstanding relationship with Beacon Rail and Angel Trains, which continues to elicit a raft of high-profile finance and leasing work. Outside of rail, the 'very proactive' Rebecca Quayle provides 'extremely user-friendly advice' to airlines and leasing companies across a range of new money mandates and refinancing matters. On the shipping front, Nigel Ward handles a considerable amount of cross-border financings with an Asian nexus in his capacity as legal consultant.

Practice head(s):

Russell Clifford

Other key lawyers:

Rebecca Quayle; Jamie Wiseman-Clarke; Anton Chambers; Nigel Ward

Testimonials

The team is very commercial in its approach and extremely responsive, so we know that we can always reach out to them with any sensitive and urgent queries (which we usually have a lot of), and they will always be available at short notice.’

The London team is extremely user-friendly, cost-effective and has good industry knowledge.’

A very accessible, friendly and technically competent transaction team. Very proactive, very good structuring of deal team, great partner involvement, straightforward solutions and communications. Thorough and focused on successfully completing the transaction.’

Russell Clifford is strategic and knows the rail market inside out. He always provides pragmatic legal advice, which we highly appreciate.’

Jamie Wiseman-Clarke has an eagle eye for detail and would not settle for anything less than perfect.’

Rebecca Quayle is extremely user-friendly and has an excellent understanding of her subject and up to date knowledge.’

The very proactive Rebecca Quayle is a safe pair of hands. She knows how to deal with the commercial people of our company.’

‘Jason Chamberlain is indispensable when dealing with highly technical matters. He is one of those lawyers who likes to break down even the most complex points into easy-to-follow diagrams.’

Key clients

EY (as administrators of Flybe Limited and its parent company Connect Airways Limited)

Falko Regional Aircraft

ICBCIL Aviation Company Limited

ICBC Financial Leasing Co., Ltd

Angel Trains Limited

Beacon Rail Leasing Limited

Heathrow Airport

Seacor Marine Holdings, Inc.

Citibank

The Export-Impact Bank of China

Work highlights

  • Advised EY as administrators on all aviation financing and leasing aspects of FlyBe’s administration.
  • Advised Beacon on the extension of the leasing of its Voyager fleet operating on the CrossCountry franchise as part of the extension of that franchise.
  • Advising Angel Trains in relation to the implementation of the Emergency Recovery Measures Agreements and related arrangements put in place by the Department of Transport (DfT) with UK passenger operators as part of the DfT’s response to the pandemic.

HFW

Co-headed from London by Adam Shire and the 'incredibly talented' Elinor DautlichHFW's 'reputable' nine-partner team displays 'deep knowledge' in the maritime sector in particular, which it is able to impart on behalf of a varied mix of borrowers and lenders, including banks, ECAs, funds, lessors and operators. The 'commercial and pragmatic' Tony Rice has vast lender-side experience in the sector, from both both a new money and restructuring perspective, including in the context of ECA-backed financings. 'Excellent to work with and easy to get along with', dual UK and Sweden-qualified partner Gudmund Bernitz excels at handling mandates involving a Scandinavian/northern European nexus, many of which have a sustainability angle to them. On the aviation front, as well as Shire's aptitude at handling corporate jet financings, the team also benefits from the expertise of 'fantastic' senior associate Barbara Pansadoro, who 'goes the-extra-mile' for airlines, lessors and banks across a range of complex finance and leasing transactions in the commercial sector.

Practice head(s):

Elinor Dautlich; Adam Shire

Other key lawyers:

Tony Rice; Gudmund Bernitz; Katherine Noble; Barbara Pansadoro

Testimonials

A team of diverse knowledge and skills, able and willing to support their client on every step of the way, promptly and diligently. They make you feel safe that you are in capable hands.’

The team really know their industry, with a focus that puts them apart from other shipping practices.’

A reputable team with deep knowledge within this area.’

Tony Rice is commercial, pragmatic and responsive.’

Gudmund Bernitz is excellent to work with. He knows how to get things done and is easy to get along with.’

‘Elinor Dautlich is one of the big names in the industry. Incredibly talented and a nice person.’

Barbara Pansadoro is fantastic and goes the extra mile.’

Katherine Noble deserves a specific mention as she is very meticulous and thorough, swift in providing advice and always eager to assist. Her experience renders her particularly good on strategy and her responsiveness and work ethic make her stand out as a very valuable counsel.’

Key clients

HSBC Bank plc

Tsakos Energy Navigation

DNB Bank ASA

MUFG Bank

Team Tankers International

BW Epic Kosan Ltd

Northern Offshore Services

Swedbank

Turkish Airlines, Inc.

Air Europa Líneas Aéreas S.A.U (Air Europa)

Turistik Hava Tasimacilic A.S. (Corendon Airlines)

Genting Hong Kong

Nordea Bank

CaixaBank

Maersk Line

Svenska Handelsbanken

ING Bank

ABN AMRO Bank

Work highlights

  • Acted for the financiers on the amendment of loan facilities pursuant to the Hermes cruise debt holiday programme in respect of the Saga cruise ships ‘SPIRIT OF DISCOVERY’ and the ‘SPIRIT OF ADVENTURE’ whereby repayments of principal were deferred as a result of the Covid-19 related effects on the cruise market.
  • Acting for BW Epic Kosan Ltd. (previously Epic Gas) in connection with the refinancing of 17 LPG ships owned and operated by Lauritzen Kosan.
  • Acted for Northern Offshore Services in respect of (1) their purchase of two transfer vessels from SureWind and (2) the lease financing of those vessels provided by Flexam Invest.

Reed Smith LLP

 Reed Smith LLP 'understands the technical intricacies of maritime law and is able to provide pragmatic yet detailed advice' to commercial banks and funds across a range of financing/restructuring mandates, as well as non-performing loan (NPL) transactions. As well as his new money and restructuring work for a creditor-focused client base, 'the very knowledgeable, pragmatic and solutions-oriented' Rob Wilkins is pivotal to the firm's success in the NPL space and has been involved for the purchasers in many of the most significant transactions in the shipping space. Co-head Richard Hakes is also active in the aviation finance space, an area of the practice which was hugely strengthened by the arrival in November 2020 of the 'experienced and professional' Christopher Jackson  and the 'extremely knowledgeable' Adam Longney  from REN Legal.

Practice head(s):

Rob Wilkins; Richard Hakes

Other key lawyers:

Philip Rymer; Christopher Jackson; Adam Longney; Susan Riitala; Catriona Henderson; Ashleigh Standen; Spiros Zavitsas

Testimonials

A very capable team that understands the technical intricacies of maritime law and is able to provide pragmatic yet detailed advice in short time frames.’

They are in a class of their own for alternative investors/private equity financing structures.’

Richard Hakes is our go-to lawyer. He leads the team but also is always generous with his time and accessible to us.’

Rob Wilkins is very knowledgeable, pragmatic and solutions oriented.’

Philip Rymer – understands the transactions and what is needed from them.’

Christopher Jackson. Two words to describe him: Experienced and professional.’

Adam Longney is a go-to for practical, sensible commercial advice. He is reliable, pragmatic and always willing to assist. An extremely knowledgeable and safe pair of hands.’

‘The very proactive Susan Riitala is extremely diligent and reliable for sale and purchase transactions in particular.’

Winston & Strawn LLP

The ‘commercially savvy, well-resourced, proactive and highly approachable’ two-partner team at Winston & Strawn LLP has a particularly strong reputation advising commercial banks and ECAs across a range of aviation finance mandates, running the gamut from fairly conventional arrangements, through to highly structured ones. Working alongside practitioners from the firm’s New York office, ‘very client-focused‘ team head Mark Moody has been particularly active of late advising ECAs and banks as creditors on numerous Latin American airline restructurings which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the US. The ‘outstanding’ Alison Weal is also recommended and has an ‘incredible depth of knowledge and insight‘ across both aviation and shipping finance mandates.

Practice head(s):

Mark Moody

Other key lawyers:

Alison Weal; Rishi Raheja; James Turner

Testimonials

The team is client-focused and solutions-oriented.’

The unique capabilities of this practice are that the Winston & Strawn team is able to provide us with a consistent high quality global service at all points in the market cycle, whether that be leading on new structured finance products or advising on defaults, restructurings and repossessions or just plain vanilla financings.’

‘The team is commercially savvy, well resourced, proactive and highly approachable.’

‘The aviation team is highly capable and combines a deep experience of the market with a pragmatic and commercial approach. They have a particular expertise in providing lender-side advice.’

Mark Moody is very client-focused and a joy to deal with.’

Mark Moody has deep aviation experience, both working with the ECAs as well as multi-jurisdictionally as lender’s counsel. He is pragmatic, commercial but at the same time collegiate.’

Alison Weal is an outstanding lawyer, with incredible depth of knowledge and insight.’

Rishi Raheja is now an up-and-coming senior in this group. He is very knowledgeable and now effectively leads many of our joint engagements from the firm’s perspective.’

James Turner was very solid with his advice and drafting and timely in his responses.’

Key clients

Aviation Capital Group

BNP Paribas

BP America, Inc.

CIAF Leasing

Comarco Indian Ocean Ltd.

Deutsche Bank

European Export Credit Agencies (UK Export Finance, Bpifrance, Euler Hermes)

Finnair Oyj

Pratt & Whitney

Specialised Vessel Services Ltd.

Work highlights

  • Advised the European export credit agencies in the Chapter 11 bankruptcy case of LATAM Airlines Group, and related impact on the financing arrangements of more than 65 Airbus A320 aircraft.
  • Advised Aviation Capital Group on the securitisation of a portfolio of 24 Airbus A320 and Boeing 737 aircraft.
  • Advised BNP Paribas in the Chapter 11 bankruptcy case of LATAM Airlines Group and related impact on the financing arrangements of several Airbus A350 and A320 aircraft.

Bird & Bird LLP

Bird & Bird LLP's 'highly knowledgeable' two-partner team provides 'commercially-minded and solutions-driven' advice to financial institutions, equity investors, lessors and airlines. Drawing upon his broader capital markets expertise, team head Richard Sharman is particularly well-placed to advise on complex and often highly bespoke structured financing mandates in the sector. Paul Briggs also remains a pivotal member of the team by virtue of his extensive aviation industry knowledge, which encompasses finance, as well as broader operational and commercial work for airlines - including a considerable volume of key strategic advice as it pertains to the seismic impact of the pandemic on many key airline clients' businesses.

Practice head(s):

Richard Sharman

Other key lawyers:

Paul Briggs; Marcus Pyke; Michael Holt; Rachel Welch-Phillips

Testimonials

The team is highly knowledgeable, commercially-minded and solutions driven.’

Key clients

Air Arabia

Airborne Capital Limited

Airbus Bank

Banco Santander

Bristow Group

Emirates

EMP Structured Assets GmbH

Goshawk

ICBC Leasing

Investec Bank plc

JA Mitsui Leasing, Ltd.

JP Morgan

Lease Corporation International

LOT Polish Airlines

Luxaviation

Seraph

Smartwings / Czech Airlines

Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation Europe Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising Bristow Group on the English law aspects in respect of private offering of $400m aggregate senior secured notes.
  • Advised Virgin Atlantic on a range of transactional and disputes work.
  • Advised Cargolux in connection with the end of lease purchase of two Boeing 747-400 freighter aircraft from its lessor DAE Capital.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP

Although it is still in its formative stage, Herbert Smith Freehills LLP's two-partner London-based asset finance team has made some effective inroads into the aviation finance sector, chiefly off the back of team head Rex Rosales' strong reputation in the field and his ability to effectively leverage the firm's already strong broader aviation industry offering out of Australia and Singapore, in particular. Although it has also picked up some airline work, including on behalf of easyJet on a $1.87bn ECA-backed secured term loan facility, the team has been particularly effective advising lenders (both commercial banks and ECAs) and lessors across a range of new money and restructuring mandates.

Practice head(s):

Rex Rosales

Other key lawyers:

Jahnavi Ramachandran; Tim Hunter-Jones

Testimonials

Cross-border experience, strong asset finance experience and ability to explain key legal points in a commercial manner. Good diversity with people of various background and jurisdictions able to advise with ease.’

Rex Rosales brought good gravitas to the transaction and gave us confidence that our interests were being well looked after.’

Key clients

easyJet Airline Company Limited

Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Group

Bain Capital

CIT Finance LLC

World Star Aviation

Societe Generale CIB

Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank (SMTB)

ABL Aviation

Avolon

Bpifrance Assurance Export

Tata SIA Airlines Limited (Vistara)

JP Morgan Private Bank

SBI Leasing

Aergo Capital

Bayerische Landesbank

TAP Air Portugal

Erste Group Bank AG

National Australia Bank

Work highlights

  • Advised easyJet on a $1.87bn secured term loan facility supported by a guarantee from UK Export Finance.
  • Advising Aergo Capital on the sale and leaseback of one Airbus A350-900 aircraft and one Boeing B787-10 aircraft with Singapore Airlines and the contemporaneous Sharia-compliant limited recourse financing provided by Dubai Islamic Bank PJSC, which was the first operating lease transaction between Aergo and Singapore Airlines and the first Sharia-compliant financing completed by Aergo.
  • Advised Bain Capital on the acquisition by Titan Aircraft Investments I, Ltd, a joint venture between Bain Capital and Titan Aviation Holdings (an affiliate of Atlas Air), of one Boeing B777F aircraft and the leasing of the aircraft to Southern Air.

Holland & Knight (UK) LLP

Led by the 'commercial and knowledgeable' Robert RickettsHolland & Knight (UK) LLP's three-partner team has a strong reputation in the aviation sector, as a result of its aptitude at handling a range of leasing and finance transactions, including secured debt financing and securitisation transactions of aircraft, engines and spare parts. The team is also able to leverage its strong and well-established offering in the US, a collaborative approach which has recently manifested itself particularly starkly in relation to its work for lessors as stakeholders in numerous Chapter 11 bankruptcy procedures relating to Latin America-based airlines.

Practice head(s):

Robert Ricketts

Other key lawyers:

Gwyn O’Flynn; Victoria Koob; Noelle Boyce

Testimonials

‘The team provides pragmatic spot-on advice, putting the client first.’ 

‘The commercial and knowledgeable Robert Ricketts stands out for his ability to get to the heart of the matters very quickly and efficiently.’

Key clients

Shannon Engine Support Limited

AerSale

AerCap Holdings, N.V.

Avolon Aerospace Leasing Limited

GE Capital Aviation Services Limited (GECAS)

BBAM Aircraft Management LP

Close Brothers Aviation and Marine Finance Limited

Aircastle Limited

Braathens Aviation AB

SMBC Aviation Capital Limited

HEH Hamburger EmissionsHaus GmbH & Cle. KG

Fuyo General Lease Co., Ltd.

Work highlights

  • Represented Braathens and a majority of its subsidiaries, including Braathens Regional Airlines, the second largest domestic airline in Sweden, as the company navigated through its restructuring and administration.
  • Representing numerous aircraft leasing companies in connection with both the Avianca (one of the two largest airline groups in Latin America) and Aeromexico (Mexico’s largest international airline group) US Chapter 11 bankruptcy cases.
  • Acted for AerCap in a large secured portfolio financing transaction, which involved the financing and delivery of 11 aircraft to seven different airlines in seven countries.

K&L Gates LLP

With two partners based in London and also able to draw upon the expertise of lawyers spread across its global offices, including out of the US, K&L Gates LLP is praised for its ability to provide a 'tailor-made' service to a balanced roster of clients, including banks, lessors and airlines. An 'exceptional lawyer with a sharp commercial mind', team head Sidanth Rajagopal is 'very well regarded in the aviation community' and has developed a particular aptitude for handling cutting-edge financing and leasing mandates with an Asian and Middle Eastern focus. 'Excellent practitionerPhilip Perrotta is the other partner within the team and is particularly skilled at handling complex matters for parts suppliers and manufacturers.

Practice head(s):

Sidanth Rajagopal

Other key lawyers:

Philip Perrotta; Manuela Krach; Kevin Pearson

Testimonials

They present themselves to us as a customer in a collegiate, non-siloed, and democratic fashion with little display of different seniority levels and they maintain similar levels of high availability and responsiveness.’

The entire team is capable and approachable and wants to deliver a service which is tailor-made for the client.’

They take time to invest in their clients, get to know individuals and the business and respect the way the client works internally. When we work with K&L Gates we feel that they are an extended part of the team and it is always an enjoyable experience whilst delivering a first-class work product.’

Sidanth Rajagopal brings a natural grasp for commercial issues to the table teamed with a broad experience – he really knows his stuff and how to deliver it. He is very personable and really listens to his clients which then extends to his wider team. He understands the value in long term partnerships with his clients which means supporting his clients through their challenges.’

Apart from being an exceptional lawyer with a sharp commercial mind, Sidanth Rajagopal is always keen to expand his sphere of knowledge and to this end his ability to take on new and cutting edge transactions is second to none. His knowledge of industry is very deep and he is very well regarded in the aviation community.’

Philip Perrotta is an excellent practitioner.’

An associate worthy of note is Kevin Pearson – Kevin is smart, articulate and assertive when he needs to be and has become a trusted legal advisor to our business.’

Key clients

ACIA Aero Holdings Limited

Avenue Capital

flydubai

Kayan Aircraft Holdings

Spicejet Limited

Veling

Emirates

Qatar Airways

MUFG Securities Americas Inc.

JLPS Holding Ireland Limited

Empire Aviation Group FZCO

Work highlights

  • Advised MUFG on the issuance of Enhanced Equipment Trust Certificates to a lessor financing 16 JetBlue Aircraft.
  • Advised JP Lease and Airbus with respect to their newly formed joint venture leasing platform in regard to an innovative US dollar denominated non-recourse secured warehouse facility to bridge the acquisition of aircraft into long-term financing.
  • Advised Kayan Aircraft Leasing DAC with respect to two Sharia-compliant facilities totalling $800m for the financing and leasing of four A380 and one B777-300ER aircraft to Emirates.

Addleshaw Goddard

Testimonials

The team provides focused and realistic advice.’

Key clients

EVERSHOLT RAIL GROUP

CAF

HITACHI RAIL

SMBC LEASING

RAIL OPERATIONS GROUP

VTG RAIL UK

Work highlights

  • Advising Eversholt Rail Group in connection with the transitioning of all of its relevant rolling stock arrangements through the different phases of the DfT’s Emergency Measures Agreements and Emergency Recovery Measures Agreements, introduced in response to the collapse in demand following the outbreak of the pandemic.
  • Advising on the flagship order by Rail Operations Group of up to 30 x Class 93 tri-mode, high speed freight locomotives from Stadler Rail Valencia.
  • Advising Eversholt Rail Group on the re-leasing of four major rolling stock fleets into the directly awarded extension to each of the Southeastern and Greater Western passenger rail franchises.

Clyde & Co

Led from London by Dan Tindall and able to leverage significant resources on the ground in numerous key global shipping hubs, Clyde & Co LLP has an ‘excellent understanding of the industry‘ and the concomitant financing and leasing requirements of a strong operator client base. Mark Bisset spearheads the firm’s efforts on the aviation finance front, which is primarily focused on servicing the finance needs of a solid roster of commercial airlines and business jets. In October 2021 the firm sealed the acquisition of 12-strong aviation finance boutique REN Legal, with Norman Fraser and Richard Mumford  joining as partners.

Practice head(s):

Mark Bisset; Dan Tindall

Other key lawyers:

Giovanna Cabbia; Nicholas Harding; Natasha Mehta; Marie-Anne Moussalli; Amanda Paterson; Nicholas Block; Jennifer Greengrass; Kirsten Conacher; Norman Fraser; Richard Mumford

Testimonials

The firm has an excellent understanding of the shipping industry.’

They are very practical and keep things simple.’

‘Norman Fraser is an excellent lawyer with an excellent breadth of experience and understanding of the aviation finance market with the added knowledge of a true aircraft enthusiast.’

Key clients

Air Baltic

Wizz Air

Royal Air Maroc

Turkish Airlines

Aegean Airlines

Air Serbia

Credit Suisse

Work highlights

  • Represented Turkish Airlines in relation to a French tax leasing of two Boeing 787-9 aircraft guaranteed by the Export-Import Bank of the US.
  • Advising Wizz Air on the French tax leasing structure with BNP Paribas to finance three A320 NEO aircraft.
  • Advising Wizz Air on the Japanese operating leases with a call option for two A321 aircraft financed by SMBC/SMFL.

DLA Piper

Led from London by Alan Cunningham and also able to leverage resources across an extensive global network, DLA Piper's 'proactive and commercially driven' three-partner team is well-positioned to advise a fairly balanced roster of banks, lessors and airlines on their cross-border financing/leasing activity, from both a new money and restructuring perspective. As well as work in the commercial aviation sector, Cunningham also remains active for lenders and high-net-worth individuals in relation to corporate jet and superyacht financings.

Practice head(s):

Alan Cunningham

Other key lawyers:

Richard Skipper; Rebecca Williams; Claire Manley; Anna Powers; Alison Balfour

Testimonials

The team always looks for the best interest of the client. They will advise with any information and very clear view on any decisions.’

Coordination and breadth of sector and jurisdictional offering – make DLA Piper stand out.’

The team is strong in all asset finance and leasing areas providing very useful synergies.’

They are proactive and commercially driven.’

Richard Skipper has a subtle non-combative approach which is particularly valuable in moving transactions forward in a harmonious way for all parties concerned.’

Key clients

Investec Bank

British Airways

Flybe Limited

Austrian Airlines

Flyr AS

Work highlights

  • Advised  Investec, as junior lender, on the refinancing of a 13 aircraft and spare parts portfolio for CityJet as part of the Cityjet examiner’s restructuring plan.
  • Acting for British Airways in the leasing of four B777-300ER aircraft from Novus Aviation Capital.
  • Acting for Flybe in the last aircraft transaction before their administration. Subleasing of ATR aircraft to Loganair subject to a head lease from Avation.

Ince

Benefiting from an 'in-depth sector knowledge of ship finance', Ince provides a 'pragmatic, proactive and responsive' service to owners, lessors, funds and banks across a myriad of new money and refinancing transactions. As well as conventional shipping work, where clients also benefit from the integrated nature of the firm's global network, which includes key offices in Hong Kong, Piraeus and Dubai, the firm has a strong reputation for work in the offshore/energy sector, an area where 'highly experienced and responsive' team head Stuart McAlpine is recommended. David Baker has vast experience for lenders and owners across a range of cross-border financings and restructurings and is a key member of the team that also includes Beatrice Russ, whose 'ability to find prompt solutions to complicated problems is outstanding' - particularly as it relates to complex sale leaseback and export credit agency-backed financings.

Practice head(s):

Stuart McAlpine

Other key lawyers:

David Baker; Beatrice Russ; Duncan Bateson; William Chetwood; Andrew Powell; Siobhan Silk; Stuart Plotnek; Alison Lescure

Testimonials

The quality of work and advice they provide is top notch.’

‘The firm has an in-depth sector knowledge of ship finance and an ability to find solutions.’

The team is pragmatic, proactive and responsive with a broad level of “in-house” skills and experience.’

They know their field extremely well and respond with detail to all my requests, however simple or sophisticated. I feel that I am in good hands when I ask for their services.’

Stuart McAlpine is highly experienced, responsive and personable.’

Beatrice Russ’ ability to find prompt solutions to complicated problems is outstanding. She is the lawyer everyone in the room will follow.’

Andrew Powell has a deep knowledge of shipping and is generally a very nice person to work with.’

Key clients

Qatar National Bank

Golar LNG Limited

Hygo Energy Transition Ltd

KfW IPEX – Bank GmBH

Work highlights

  • Assisted Qatar National Bank with the negotiation of the loan sale agreement and assignment of the marine security, and then applied successfully for the discharge of the order for sale notwithstanding the imminent deadline for the judicial auction.
  • Advised GVS Corporation, a wholly-owned subsidiary of long-standing client Golar LNG Limited, on a sale and leaseback financing in respect of the LNG vessel.
  • Advised Golar Hull M2023 Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Hygo Energy Transition Limited, on a sale and leaseback financing of their LNG carrier, the Golar Celsius, with Avic International Leasing Co., Ltd. and subsequent mortgage financing with BNP Paribas.

Linklaters LLP

Deploying a cross-disciplinary approach to work in the aviation and maritime sector which draws upon the firm's broader market-leading competence across banking, capital markets, private equity and restructuring, Linklaters LLP is well-placed to advise banks, owners and investors on complex cross-border leasing and finance transactions. 'Experienced, practical and commercial' team head Olga Petrovic is 'able to advise on a variety of transactions', including many recent mandates involving government support, recapitalisation and restructuring components.

Practice head(s):

Olga Petrovic

Other key lawyers:

Caroline Courtney; Victoria Bresslaw

Testimonials

The team has excellent skills related to aviation financing. The firm’s network is also beneficial to cover multiple jurisdictions in complex cross-border transactions.’

A pleasure to deal with and efficient.’

It is an excellent practice with good experience and is able to support transactions across multiple areas on a cross-jurisdictional basis.’

Olga Petrovic is a great partner to have on your legal team – she is very experienced, practical and commercial and is well able to advise on a variety of transactions. She is also a great sounding board for tricky problems but also is well plugged into the market, so is a good source of information on market trends.’

Key clients

Citibank N.A.

UBS AG

Hapag-Lloyd AG

Cathay Pacific Airways Limited

Strategic Value Partners

British Airways and IAG

Deutsche Bank AG

SeaCube Containers

NatWest Bank

Goldman Sachs

Bank of America

Credit Agricole Commercial and Investment Bank

Genting

Work highlights

  • Advising the lenders under the $425m revolving credit facility (originally unsecured) on the debt restructuring of Nordic Aviation Capital (NAC), implemented by way of an Irish scheme of arrangement of the financial indebtedness of the NAC parent entity.
  • Advising Cathay Pacific on the HK$39bn Covid-19 debt and equity recapitalisation plan arranged by the Hong Kong government.
  • Advising Gazprombank (Joint-Stock Company) on the €522m international financing of two LNG vessels to be used as storage terminals for the Arctic LNG project.

Burges Salmon LLP

Benefiting from 'deep UK rail experience and expertise', Bristol-based firm Burges Salmon LLP provides a 'highly competent and commercially astute service' to operators and government entities across a range of operational, regulatory and transactional matters. Team head Brioney Thomas regularly handles rolling stock financing and procurement work for many of the country's most prominent train operating companies.

Practice head(s):

Brioney Thomas

Other key lawyers:

Chris Simms; Chris Lewis; Jacob Preisner

Testimonials

‘The firm has deep UK rail experience and expertise.’

Highly competent, commercially astute and always willing to go the extra mile.’

Deep knowledge of the UK rolling stock market, both at Government and DfT level, through to operator and owner requirements.’  

Chris Simms takes a pragmatic approach and uses his experience from different parts of the UK rail industry.’

Key clients

FirstGroup (TOC owner group) and its TOCs (Great Western Railway, South Western Railway, First TransPennine Express and Hull Trains)

Abellio Transport Holdings (TOC owner group) and its TOCs (Merseyrail, Greater Anglia and ScotRail)

Welsh Government / Transport for Wales

Northern Ireland Railways Company (trading as Translink)

Eurostar International Limited (trading as Eurostar)

Rock Rail East Midlands Plc

Rail Delivery Group

Work highlights

  • Advising Abellio East Anglia on renegotiating their contracts for the supply, leasing and maintenance of new rolling stock from Bombardier, which is funded by Angel Trains – complex work necessitated by delays in the delivery of the trains, which has required extensive amendments to the manufacture, leasing and maintenance documents.
  • Advised GWR, a leading rail operator owned by FirstGroup, on re-leasing all the railway vehicles it operates, in the context of its 2020 Franchise Agreement – including negotiating operating lease agreements and financed fleet enhancements, advising on maintenance strategy to protect the leased assets and negotiating transition arrangements between existing and new maintenance arrangements.
  • Advising South Western Railway on the end-of-lease handover and sub-leaseback of Class 707 railway vehicles to Angel Trains, including negotiating the sub-lease to allow the client to retain the rolling stock for longer than specified under the original lease, while ensuring SWR’s commercial position was protected as against the new operator.

Greenberg Traurig, LLP

Since Graeme McLellan and Richard Hughes‘ arrival from Stephenson Harwood in August 2019, Greenberg Traurig, LLP has made huge inroads into the UK rail market, as well as effectively adding ballast to an already strong presence out of Berlin for European work. McLellan, in particular, is noted for his ‘vast experience in the UK and European asset based/rail finance sector‘ and has hit the ground running on behalf of a financier-focused client base across the gamut of procurement, financing, leasing and operational issues related to infrastructure and rolling stock projects.

Practice head(s):

Emma Menzies

Other key lawyers:

Graeme McLellan; Richard Hughes

Testimonials

Excellent London based and international team which covers all relevant areas that materialise in different types of rail financing transactions.’

Graeme McLellan is one of the best all-round commercial lawyers with a vast experience in the UK and European asset based/rail finance sector.’

Key clients

Centrus Asset Management

Deutsche Bank

Equitix Limited

Eversholt Rail

HSBC

Macquarie Bank / Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets

Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation / SMBC Leasing

Various joint ventures between Equitix and SMBC Leasing

Work highlights

  • Represented Macquarie on all matters in relation to the sale of three European passenger and freight rolling stock portfolios operating across Europe.
  • Advising Equitix Limited, as equity investor, in relation to the ongoing financing of the development of the Norwich Crown Point Light Maintenance Depot (NCP).

Hill Dickinson LLP

Hill Dickinson LLP's well-hedged roster of borrower and lender clients ensures that it is able to provide a balanced perspective on the needs of banks and operators, particularly in a shipping finance context. Panos Pourgourides regularly advises high-net-worth individuals on the financing requirements for the purchase of superyachts and co-heads the five-partner team alongside Roderick Palmer, who handles a combination of commercial shipping and corporate jet financing work.

Practice head(s):

Panos Pourgourides; Roderick Palmer

Other key lawyers:

Malcolm Entwistle; Diana Syziu; Nafsika Connolly; Rajveer Sehmi

Key clients

Bank of America

Chailease International Finance

Close Brothers

Intership, Government of Oman

Spliethoff

Advanced Energy Systems

GAdventures

J. Marr (Seafoods) Ltd

Polsteam

Columbia Shipmanagement

BB Energy

AbuDhabi National Oil Company

BORE

SOCAR

The Northern Trust Company Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising the buyer on the purchase and leaseback of Dassault Falcon 7x, involving prior exercise of options from preceding bank financier and bespoke lease and management agreements plus post-Brexit import structuring.
  • Acting for the purchaser in relation to an issue arising under (and the security arrangements for) a contract for the design, construction and delivery of an integrated submarine search and rescue system.
  • Advised BB Energy, the biggest gasoil and gasoline trader in the Mediterranean region, on its investment in Pakistani fuel retailer Euro Oil.

Slaughter and May

As befits the firm's generalist ethos, while Slaughter and May may lack a discrete asset finance offering, it handles a not inconsiderable volume of transactional work in the transport sector for a number of core clients of the firm including Rolls-Royce, International Airlines Group and British Airways. Robert Byk is the main contact and the de-facto asset finance team head.

Practice head(s):

Robert Byk

Other key lawyers:

Harry Walker

Key clients

British Airways

International Airlines Group (IAG)

BlackRock

Rolls-Royce

Orient Overseas (International) Limited

Legal & General Investment Management

The Department for Transport

Work highlights

  • Advising International Airlines Group on the complex asset finance and leasing aspects of its proposed €1bn acquisition of Air Europa.
  • Advising International Airlines Group on its €1.2bn issuance of euro-denominated senior unsecured bonds.
  • Advising Rolls-Royce on its £2bn term loan with a syndicate of banks. The loan is partially supported by a guarantee from UK Export Finance.