Arnold & Porter‘s multidisciplinary transportation practice houses specialists in commercial, cargo and corporate aircraft. A go-to team for crisis incidents, the sizeable practice is sought out by national, international and regional clients for substantial commercial disputes and transnational litigation. Its coverage includes claims that involve foreign parties, such as issues involving the jurisdiction of US courts, foreign sovereign immunity, forum non conveniens, multi-district litigation, and service of process and discovery abroad. Recent highlights include representing Airbus in major product liability litigation across the US, which arises from alleged toxic fume contamination of jetliners’ cabin air. The principal figures are Washington DC-based class action specialist David Weiner; and Christopher Odell, who is well known for transportation-related mass tort claims. The practice additionally features litigation group co-chairs Kenneth Chernof in Washington DC and New York-based James Herschlein. The senior associates to note are Amanda Thomson and Washington DC’s Megan Pieper, whose practices include handling major litigation in the aviation industry. All the practitioners mentioned are based in the firm’s Houston office, unless otherwise stated.
Aviation and air travel: litigation and regulation in United States
Christopher Odell; Kenneth Chernof; James Herschlein
Other key lawyers:
David Weiner; Amanda Thomson; Megan Pieper; Katie Scott
Airbus Group SE
Airbus Military & Space
Airbus Ventures Equity Partner
Airbus Limited UK
Zetta Jet USA
- Defending Airbus against over 100 personal injury claims (as part of a class action and several opt-out personal injury actions pending in Canada’s Halifax, Nova Scotia), which concern the crash landing of an Air Canada A320 aircraft.
- Representing Airbus in product liability litigation across the US, arising from alleged toxic fume contamination of the cabin air on its jetliners.
- Representing major investors and creditors in the bankruptcy cases of Zetta Jet USA and Zetta Jet Pte (and in related litigation).
Condon & Forsyth LLP
Condon & Forsyth LLP is a specialist aviation law firm that is widely respected for its defense-side work regarding airline mass accidents, commercial litigation, and National Transportation Safety Board investigations. The firm has also expanded its aviation and aerospace credentials to cover emergency responses and crisis management, unmanned aerial systems, and space and satellite work. The practice is co-led by Christopher Christensen, who represents air carriers and manufacturers in high-stakes aviation accident investigations and litigation; aviation litigation specialist Bartholomew Banino; and Miami office head John Maggio, who is a civil, commercial and product liability litigator. Los Angeles office leader Scott Cunningham routinely acts as lead counsel in wrongful death and personal injury cases, while Anthony Battista‘s recent track record includes representing carriers in industry-wide litigation arising from Covid-19 refund class actions. Also key to the group are experienced trial and appellate attorney Katherine Posner; Jonathan DeMay, whose practice covers major aviation accidents and high-value wrongful death litigation; and former carrier-based naval aviator David Harrington. Other key partners are Diana Gurfel Shapiro, Marshall Turner, Jane Sigda, Mary Dow, Allison Surcouf, Evan Kwarta and Marissa Lefland, along with Los Angeles’ Andrew Johnson. All practitioners are based in New York unless otherwise mentioned.
Christopher Christensen; Bartholomew Banino; John Maggio
Other key lawyers:
Scott Cunningham; Anthony Battista; Katherine Posner; Jonathan DeMay; David Harrington; Diana Gurfel Shapiro; Marshall Turner; Jane Sigda; Mary Dow; Allison Surcouf; Evan Kwarta; Marissa Lefland; Andrew Johnson; Jennifer Johnston
Advent Aircraft Systems
Aerolineas Damojh, SA de CV (d/b/a Global Air)
Aerovías de México, SA de CV (d/b/a Aeromexico)
Air Charter Service
Air Lease Corporation
Air New Zealand
All Nippon Airways
Aon Risk Services
Cathay Pacific Airways
Cebu Pacific Air
Compañía Panameña de Aviación, SA (d/b/a Copa Airlines)
Dassault Falcon Jet
Delta Air Lines
Embraer Executive Aircraft
Embraer Maintenance Services
F&E Aircraft Maintenance
Flight Lease Capital Management
Fly 7 Executive Aviation
International Underwriting Association
Japan Airlines Co
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines (aka Koninklijke Luchtvaart Maatschappij NV)
LOT Polish Airlines (aka Polskie Linie Lotnicze LOT)
Lufthansa German Airlines (aka Deutsche Lufthansa)
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries
Nippon Cargo Airlines
Pakistan International Airlines
Piiq Risk Partners
PrimeFlight Aviation Services
Royal Air Maroc
Royal Jordanian Airlines
Saudia (formerly known as Saudi Arabian Airlines)
Scandinavian Airlines System
Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Insurance
South African Airways
Southwest Airlines Pilots Association
ST Aerospace Engineering
Sun Country Airlines
TAP Air Portugal
Tokyo Marine & Nichido Fire Insurance Co
Underwriters at Lloyd’s of London
Volaris (aka Concesionaria Vuela Compañía de Aviación, S.A.B. de C.V.)
Willis Towers Watson
The aviation practice at ‘well-rounded law firm‘ Cozen O'Connor serves as primary regulatory counsel to aviation and aerospace clients around the world, including US and foreign cargo and passenger airlines, aircraft leasing companies, and air travel intermediaries. The team’s enviable client list also comprises aviation equipment manufacturers, repair stations, investors, lending institutions, air express delivery and cargo handling companies, and public charter operators. It additionally assists with the gamut of aviation-related regulatory licensing and compliance work. The practice is co-led by David Heffernan, who routinely acts before various government agencies; managing partner of the New York office Geoffrey Ferrer; and domestic and international antitrust and trade regulation expert Robert Magovern. Other key practitioners are Mark Atwood, whose practice includes advising US clients on their regulatory affairs; and compliance specialist Jonathon Foglia, who ‘understands the type of advice that clients need‘. Another active member is recently-promoted Rachel Welford, who is particularly focused on aviation security law and policy involving US government agencies. At associate level, Michael Deutsch also assists with aviation regulatory work. All attorneys named are based in the firm’s Washington DC office, unless otherwise mentioned.
David Heffernan; Geoffrey Ferrer; Robert Magovern
Other key lawyers:
Mark Atwood; Jonathon Foglia; Rachel Welford; Michael Deutsch
‘This practice is unique in that it helps identify specific legal issues and concerns with respect to the travel industry, and is constantly informing its clients of ongoing regulatory updates.‘
‘Provides practical feedback in an easy and digestible manner. The team not only reviews regulations and provides feedback, but discusses companies’ products with clients at length and how the current state and federal regimes may view their products.’
‘Cozen is a well-rounded law firm that is capable of giving a full-service when needed.‘
Airlines for America
CMA CGM Air Cargo
Sky Airline Peru
Miami Air International
- Regularly acts for Airlines for America (A4A) in complex, high-stakes aviation regulatory issues.
- Acting as primary outside regulatory counsel to Alaska Airlines.
- Acting as the Lufthansa Group’s long-time primary outside counsel for US aviation regulatory issues.
Hogan Lovells US LLP fields ‘an amazing team that knows Department of Transportation, aviation and regulatory work better than anyone out there‘. The Washington DC-based practice advises on traditional aviation issues involving a range of large and small airlines, airports and manufacturers. Examples of the group’s expertise include its representation of GE Aerospace in the aviation regulatory issues surrounding the certification of its products; and recent ground-breaking work includes assisting Matternet with obtaining the first-ever standard type certificate issued by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for a drone. Senior counsel Robert Cohn has longstanding experience in assisting aviation clients with regulatory issues, transactions, litigation, and government relations; and co-founder of the independent non-profit Commercial Drone Alliance, Lisa Ellman, chairs the firm’s global uncrewed aircraft systems practice. Also highly rated are former FAA chief counsel Arjun Garg; counsel Patrick Rizzi, who regularly acts before the US Department of Transportation and the FAA; and Matthew Clark, who is a particularly active senior associate within the firm’s UAS/drones group. In July 2022, former senior counsel Ted Ellett retired from the firm.
Lisa Ellman; Arjun Garg; Patrick Rizzi
Other key lawyers:
Robert Cohn; Matthew Clark
‘An amazing team that knows Department of Transportation, aviation and regulatory work better than anyone out there. They are also great people to work with!’
‘Senior counsel Robert Cohn and counsel Patrick Rizzi are the best out there for Department of Transportation and aviation regulatory matters!’
‘The entire team has the highest level of knowledge and experience in the field. In addition, they have an incredible network and are very well respected at the local, state, and federal levels of government.’
‘Each individual is genuinely interested in helping, extremely knowledgeable and always willing to help. A level of service I have not seen from other firms. And they are always easy to access and promptly respond to questions and needs.’
‘Aviation is a relatively specialized industry, and the Hogan Lovells team are able to assist us in whatever issue or matter we can throw at them. They have many contacts within the aviation world which makes many of our questions a quick answer for them.’
‘Robert Cohn and Patrick Rizzi are true partners. They know our business and how we like to do that business. They give direct advice which is easy to understand and follow.’
Alaska International Airport System
The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma
Commercial Drone Alliance
Drone Racing League
Florida Power & Light
Kiwi Technologies d/b/a Guardian Agriculture
Major League Baseball
Northeast UAS Airspace Integration Research Alliance
Northern Pacific Airways
Sun Country Airlines
Trans Executive Airlines of Hawaii
- Secured the first-ever standard type certificate issued by the Federal Aviation Administration for a drone for Matternet.
- Acting as aviation regulatory counsel for American Airlines in relation to Federal Aviation Administration and Department of Transportation issues.
- Representing Atlas Air in Department of Transportation and Federal Aviation Administration matters, including licensing and regulatory compliance issues.
Clyde & Co LLP
In addition to its substantial coverage litigation experience, Clyde & Co LLP‘s team regularly defends international aviation clients’ insureds against aviation mass disaster and product liability disputes. The department also acts in claims involving contracts, employment law, leases, security instruments, repossessions, enforcement proceedings, and sale, purchase and finance agreements. Kevin Sutherland, who represents aerospace clients in commercial, aviation and product liability matters, chairs the global aviation practice from San Francisco and, with extensive appellate experience, Andrew Harakas routinely tries cases involving significant aviation losses. Other highly regarded practitioners are aviation industry trial and appellate specialist Jeffrey Ellis; and Christopher Carlsen, whose broad practice includes a broad array of aviation litigation and arbitration proceedings. An early 2022 hire from Baker McKenzie LLP, Washington DC-based Kenneth Quinn acts as litigation, regulatory, enforcement, antitrust and commercial counsel to airlines, aerospace companies, airport developers, and other aviation companies. All attorneys listed are based in the firm’s New York office, unless otherwise mentioned.
Kevin Sutherland; Andrew Harakas
Other key lawyers:
Jeffrey Ellis; Christopher Carlsen; Kenneth Quinn
The airlines and aviation industry practice at Jones Day comprises civilian and former military pilots, as well as former senior officers of the Federal Aviation Administration and Department of Justice, and former in-house lawyers of aviation manufacturers. The group’s experience includes handling defense-side mass disaster commercial airliner crash litigation, assisting with The National Transportation Safety Board and other government accident investigations, and litigating disputes involving engine, aircraft and spacecraft supply contracts, regional air service agreements, and maintenance services. It also litigates disputes arising from aircraft finance and leasing transactions; represents aircraft owners and lessors in insurance coverage disputes following aviation accidents; and defends airlines in passenger and ground-handling claims. The firm additionally houses a robust aviation regulatory practice. In Pittsburgh, John Goetz leads the firm’s airlines and aviation industry initiative, and Detroit-based Stephen Cowen is an expert in damages and valuation matters involving commercial aerospace and defence contract disputes. In Washington DC, Matthew Papez acts as litigation and trial counsel for Fortune 500 clients, while former US Navy pilot Patrick Haney is an October 2022 partner hire from Kirkland & Ellis LLP.
John Goetz; Matthew Papez; Stephen Cowen
Other key lawyers:
Patrick Haney; Joshua Fuchs
The Boeing Company
Global Medical Response
Parker Hannifin Corporation
Consistently acting as national litigation counsel for aviation manufacturers, companies, consortiums and individuals, Nixon Peabody LLP fields experts in National Transportation Safety Board, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and foreign accident investigations. The team also assists manufacturing and aviation clients with regulatory issues, along with the establishment of risk-management and product integrity procedures designed to avoid litigation. Clients additionally benefit from the practice’s retired military and airline pilots, FAA-licensed flight instructors, attorneys with strong engineering and mechanical backgrounds, and experienced trial lawyers. New York and Long Island-based Joseph Ortego acts in aviation-related litigation, as well as regulatory and compliance matters. Over in San Francisco, Brian Dalrymple‘s track record includes defending corporations, airlines, type certificate holders, parts manufacturer approval holders, drone manufacturers and airports against multi-district and class action litigation. At counsel level in Rochester, commercial and complex business disputes specialist Tracey Scarpello acts in defense-side aviation litigation, while Erik Goergen assists with commercial disputes and product liability matters at trial and appellate levels, and Long Island-based Santo Borruso regularly defends clients in aviation industry-related product liability litigation.
Joseph Ortego; Brian Dalrymple
Other key lawyers:
Tracey Scarpello; Erik Goergen; Santo Borruso; Domenico Perrella; Vivian Quinn
Daher-Socata; Daher Socata d/b/a Socata North America
Avions de Transport Regional
- Representated Socata and Socata North America in connection with wrongful death claims filed in the state of New York, Florida, and Connecticut, which arose from the crash of a TBM-900 turbo-prop aircraft off the coast of Jamaica (after experiencing an in-flight depressurization event).
- Defense counsel for Avions de Transport Régional, in connection with the CTSB investigation and litigation (arising from the accident of West Wind Aviation’s Flight #280 at Canada’s Fond-du-Lac in Saskatchewan).
- Defense counsel for Avions de Transport Régional, in connection with hull subrogation litigation (arising from the landing accident of Calm Air International’s Flight MO515 in Canada’s Manitoba).
Praised as ‘a go-to firm when it comes to aviation matters‘, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP‘s aviation, aerospace and transportation practice represents over sixty airlines in the US and globally. The group also acts for aviation industry-related original equipment manufacturers, suppliers, lessors, purchasers, investors and financiers. The firm is additionally highly regarded for its regulatory practice, which covers administrative adjudications, enforcement issues and litigation, along with airline safety and aircraft certification matters, accident investigations and employment issues. Leader of the firm’s aviation, aerospace and transportation and unmanned aircraft systems teams, Charles Donley‘s global aviation clients include airlines, manufacturers, service providers, airports, aircraft brokers and foreign governments, while travel, leisure and hospitality head Josh Romanow represents over twenty international airlines from Europe, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East. Los Angeles-based employment partner Thomas Liu also regularly acts for aviation clients, and special counsel Laura Jennings Ochoa‘s experience includes representing Asian, Latin American and European airlines in enforcement work. All attorneys mentioned are based in the firm’s Washington DC office unless otherwise stated.
Other key lawyers:
Thomas Liu; Laura Jennings Ochoa; Edward Sauer; Josh Romanow
‘A go-to firm when it comes to aviation matters. Its top-notch team always provides valuable and practical advice in a timely manner.’
‘Charles Donley and Edward Sauer are great experts, and people with unmatched expertise. They have good interactions with regulators and know the industry like no one else.’
‘Outstanding knowledge of the aviation industry.’
‘Charles Donley and Ed Sauer – Both very pragmatic, business-oriented and tremendously knowledgeable of US regulatory processes in the aviation industry.’
LATAM Cargo Chile
LATAM Cargo Colombia
Norse Atlantic Airways
Air China Cargo
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines
Amerijet International Airlines
China Southern Airlines Cargo
China Southern Airlines
Cebu Pacific Airlines
- Acted for Norwegian start-up airline, Norse Atlantic Airways, in obtaining the regulatory approvals required for its first US service.
- Representing LATAM Airlines in an antitrust immunity proceeding before the Department of Transportation.
- Assisting Vietnamese airline Bamboo Airways with obtaining the approvals for its first US service.
Reed Smith LLP
Reed Smith LLP’s aviation litigation practice routinely acts in high-stakes multi-district and class action litigation. The group defends commercial airlines and aviation manufacturers against commercial disputes, wrongful death and property damage cases, and its experience extends from the defense of passenger injury claims, to high-profile commercial air crash cases and aviation-related business disputes. The group is jointly led by Patrick Bradley, who acts in a range of aviation-related product liability issues across the US, and highly rated aviation litigator Oliver Beiersdorf in New York. Providing notable support from the firm’s Houston office, Kenneth Broughton is a first-chair trial lawyer, whose broad focus covers aviation industry-related commercial litigation; and in Los Angeles, Marilyn Moberg has longstanding experience in commercial disputes, arbitration proceedings, and product liability and toxic tort litigation. At counsel level, Gregory Speier is a dedicated aviation litigation specialist, while Catherine Kiernan is a recently-promoted aviation product liability and commercial litigation practitioner. The group also features associates Justin deBettencourt in Tysons and Amanda Cunha. All attorneys mentioned work from the firm’s Princeton office unless otherwise stated.
Patrick Bradley; Oliver Beiersdorf
Other key lawyers:
Kenneth Broughton; Marilyn Moberg; Gregory Speier; Catherine Kiernan; Justin deBettencourt; Amanda Cunha
Making the major hire of a full team from Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis LLP in early 2023, Victor Rane has ‘a vast amount of aviation knowledge and expertise‘. The dedicated aviation team has offices in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, San Francisco, Washington DC, and stands out for its Delaware aviation capabilities. The team represents several major airlines, insurers, and aircraft and component manufacturers in aircraft product liability litigation, military and civilian aircraft accident claims, commercial airline defense work, and aviation insurance disputes. The aviation department is chaired by vastly experienced litigator Richard Lazenby, with the new arrivals led by key practitioners including Robert Williams, who divides his time between the firm’s Pittsburgh and Philadelphia offices; and New York and Philadelphia-based Barry Alexander, who handles commercial, product liability and personal injury litigation throughout the US. As a senior partner in the Philadelphia office, Denny Shupe represents aviation clients in a range of litigation and accident investigations, while Washington DC-based counsel Jonathan Stern is an aerospace-related litigation expert. The practice also fields litigation services department co-chair Stephen Shapiro in Philadelphia, who defends commercial airlines against claims brought by passengers, and aviation and product liability litigation associate Lee Schmeer.
Other key lawyers:
Robert Williams; Barry Alexander; Denny Shupe; Jonathan Stern; Stephen Shapiro; Lee Schmeer
‘Very efficient and professional, and all the team has a vast amount of aviation knowledge and expertise.‘
‘Clients know that cases are being handled by individuals with aviation experience.‘
‘Denny Shupe and Barry Alexander are very knowledgeable, friendly, professional and approachable.‘
AIG (US & UK)
Global Aerospace (US & UK)
Rolls-Royce North America and related entities
Great American Insurance Company
AVStar Fuel Systems
Baker McKenzie LLP
The global aviation practice at Baker McKenzie LLP is routinely mandated by aviation industry clients to advise on complex regulatory issues, investigations and enforcement proceedings, The Washington DC-based team also assists with commercial matters, licensing work, transactions, tax issues, and environmental reviews. Clients notably benefit from the firm’s sizeable global network as well as its ability to leverage colleagues’ expertise in M&A, post-merger integrations, environmental issues, restructurings and tax mandates. In addition to chairing the firm’s global aviation group, Jennifer Trock, who represents airlines, airports, aerospace manufacturers, travel distribution clients and original equipment manufacturers, is a former chair of the ABA’s forum on air and space law. The practice of associate Alex Matthews includes working with transportation industry clients on public policy and regulatory matters.
Other key lawyers:
Alex Matthews; Clyde (Skip) Rankin
The aviation litigation practice at Cooley LLP is sought out by major aerospace manufacturers, such as Textron and MD Helicopters, to represent them in high-stakes accident litigation, including fatal air crash and wrongful death claims. Its experience extends to successfully assisting clients with multi-jurisdictional cases when aircraft is involved in accidents globally. The group is also mandated by major freight carriers to act as liability and emergency response counsel. Other areas of strength are drone-related cases, high-profile airport disputes for airports and fixed-base operators, and National Transportation Safety Board investigations. Widely respected aviation litigator William O’Connor leads the team from San Diego, while special counsel Parker Erkmann in Washington DC is an aviation regulatory specialist. Denver-based associate Andrew Barr represents airports, airlines, operators, and aerospace manufacturers in aviation suits, including cross-border air-disaster cases.
Other key lawyers:
Parker Erkmann; Andrew Barr
Town of East Hampton
- Acting for MD Helicopters in its most-critical cross-border cases, including defending it against a demand for payment further to a 2017 helicopter accident, which resulted in the death of a pilot.
- Representing the Town of East Hampton and the East Hampton Airport’s air control tower operator, Robinson Aviation, in relation to a safety-based restriction on certain types of operations at the airport.
- Retained by Textron and Textron Aviation to act in a fleet-wide dispute regarding the Cessna TTx aircraft.
O'Melveny & Myers LLP
With significant regulatory knowledge, litigation experience and a widely respected Railway Labor Act (RLA) practice, O'Melveny & Myers LLP’s aviation litigation practice is sought out by major airline industry clients to handle high-stakes disputes. The group’s litigation disputes expertise ranges from antitrust, privacy, personal injury, and labor and employment matters, to consumer class actions and Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 issues. As a highly rated airline labor law specialist and outside labor counsel for several US passenger airlines, Robert Siegel leads the team from the firm’s Los Angeles office. In addition to New York-based Mark Robertson‘s labor and employment practice, he regularly represents airlines in consumer class actions and general commercial litigation matters; and Tristan Morales in Washington DC acts for airlines in the negotiation and implementation of collective bargaining agreements under the RLA, as well as related federal court litigation.
Other key lawyers:
Mark Robertson; Tristan Morales; Charles Mahoney
‘The team has worked with so many airlines in the industry for so long, and has depth and knowledge about what to expect and how clients should best position themselves.‘
‘Critical for strategizing on key labor issues related to union disputes and contract negotiations.‘
‘Robert Siegel’s team is one of the best when it comes to providing support to airlines, particularly on complicated labor contract issues and related litigation.‘
Airlines for America
- Secured a win for American Airlines (previously US Airways) in the re-trial of a significant case against booking giant Sabre involving Sherman Act Sections 1 and 2.
- Achieved a significant victory for American Airlines, obtaining dismissal of a nationwide Age Discrimination in Employment Act collective action.
- Represented air carrier trade group Airlines for America (A4A) in a declaratory judgment action that went to trial against the State of Massachusetts, challenging the application of the State’s paid sick leave law for airline employees.
Paul Hastings LLP
Led out of its Chicago office, Paul Hastings LLP‘s aviation litigation team regularly acts as lead counsel to corporate clients facing high-stakes litigation involving airline disasters. The group's enviable client roster comprises commercial airlines, manufacturers and aircraft lessors, and the team serves as national lead counsel for CFM International in several personal injury cases, including a wrongful death matter. With longstanding experience as lead, national coordinating counsel for General Electric and related entities, aviation litigation practice leader and of counsel Sheila Sundvall represents major commercial airlines, manufacturers, aircraft lessors and other defendants in major personal injury and wrongful death claims. Sundvall’s track record also includes acting for aircraft owners and other defendants in litigation emanating from highly-publicized general aviation accidents.
‘Of counsel Sheila Sundvall is not only an excellent litigator, she is also conscientious, and a great team builder with insurers and the insured.’
- Acting as national, lead counsel for CFM International (jointly owned by GE and Safran Aircraft Engines) in litigation arising out of the engine failure and emergency evacuation of Southwest Airlines Flight 1380 at Philadelphia International Airport in April 2018.
- Acting as lead counsel for General Electric in personal injury litigation filed in the Central District of California, arising out of an engine failure on Philippine Airlines Flight 113 and emergency landing at Los Angeles International Airport in 2019.