Aviation Regulation

  • Holland & Knight advises clients across the aviation industry in all aspects of aviation regulation.
  • Members of our Aviation Regulation Team maintain strong working relationships with relevant government regulatory agencies, and we offer integrated commercial, government affairs and legal strategies to help clients achieve their business objectives.
  • Our national and international experience in airline regulation is both broad and comprehensive, as is the work we perform for airports and vendors supporting the industry.

Drawing upon a diverse range of aviation law experiences and capabilities, Holland & Knight's Aviation Regulation Team integrates aviation regulatory advice with a broad-based understanding of business and government affairs to deliver well-rounded counsel to our clients. Our attorneys have a thorough awareness of the marketplace and maintain extensive contacts at all federal regulatory agencies, including the Department of Transportation (DOT), Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Transportation Security Administration (TSA), Department of State, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), Department of Justice (DOJ), and Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (CBP). This enables us to anticipate, rather than merely react to, major regulatory issues so that our clients are well prepared for changes that may impact their operations.

Representing Clients Across the Aviation Industry

With a client base that spans the breadth of the aviation industry, our team represents airlines, airports, maintenance and leasing companies, corporate jet and fractional ownership companies, air frame and parts manufacturers, tour operators, charter companies and other related businesses in every type of economic, legislative, safety or international aviation regulatory matter.

Serving the Regulatory Needs of Airlines

Providing advice and counsel to airlines is the core of our aviation regulatory practice. Members of our team assist carriers in overcoming regulatory hurdles at the U.S. DOT and FAA and in addressing issues that arise in other agencies such as DOJ, DHS, CBP and the NTSB. Our aviation clients include airlines in the United States, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Asia/Oceania, South America and the Caribbean.

We regularly counsel airlines in a wide range of regulatory matters, including licensing issues, regulatory compliance, competition analysis and defense of enforcement matters. Following are a few of the matters we have handled for our airline clients:

  • obtaining economic and operating authority from the DOT and the FAA
  • obtaining operating licenses from foreign regulatory authorities
  • negotiating airport leases, obtaining slots and gates for new entrant airlines and advising on local licensing requirements and regulations
  • devising corporate compliance and training programs and providing industry-specific antitrust training
  • interpreting bilateral air service agreements and addressing disputes over route rights and access that may arise under such agreements
  • advising carriers on changes to aviation security requirements and defending claims involving violations of federal aviation security regulations
  • handling enforcement inquiries from all government agencies and defending alleged violations of federal aviation regulations
  • assisting carriers in seeking limited entry slots and routes in contested agency proceedings
  • challenging agency orders at both the administrative and judicial levels
  • monitoring and advising clients about key aviation policy developments
  • developing communications and legislative strategies geared to shaping notable issues of aviation policy

Members of our Aviation Regulation Team have the business experience and knowledge to handle commercial transactions with significant regulatory components. We regularly support major commercial transactions that shape the industry. For example, we have:

  • drafted and negotiated comprehensive alliance agreements and airline joint ventures and have secured antitrust immunity for such arrangements
  • drafted and obtained approval for code-sharing agreements and wet lease arrangements
  • advised on the regulatory components of major equipment finance transactions
  • reviewed and drafted aircraft operating leases
  • handled all of the regulatory aspects of airline mergers and acquisitions and have assisted in the negotiation of the underlying documentation
  • reviewed and drafted agreements with travel distribution companies
  • assisted parties that have had significant assets at risk in airline bankruptcies
  • provided advice about the antitrust and competition law issues raised by multicarrier agreements

Thorough Representation on Airport-Related Matters

Our team offers comprehensive legal advice on airport-related matters. We frequently counsel clients on airport privatizations, rates and charges, rules governing airspace use and access and air service development initiatives. Our aviation lawyers have assisted clients in the following matters:

  • assisted private parties seeking to bid on and purchase public airport assets
  • tracked and lobbied for legislation and regulatory changes that affect airport access
  • represented airport interests in airline route allocation proceedings
  • analyzed and commented on proposed regulations governing airport rates and charges
  • monitored and commented on major environmental initiatives that affect airport operations
  • participated in proceedings concerning the construction of major airport facilities

Advising Other Aviation-Related Businesses

Members of our team also support the needs of other aviation-related businesses. We frequently advise travel industry clients, aircraft and engine manufacturers and repair stations, leasing and investment companies and travel distribution companies on U.S. and international regulations. Our work for these clients includes:

  • advising parts manufacturers on issues relating to counterfeit or unapproved parts
  • advising prospective investors on the restrictions on non-U.S. investment in U.S. carriers
  • tracking changes to export rules and regulations
  • advising tour operators about compliance with DOT's advertising regulations
  • providing advice on the carriage of hazardous materials and defending carriers in enforcement actions relating to such carriage
  • advising corporate flight departments on recordkeeping and safety requirements
  • prosecuting applications for Type Certification
  • FAA enforcement and regulatory matters
  • advising shippers on changes to airline safety and security regulations

International Rankings for Aviation Regulation Team

Our Aviation Regulation Team and our members have been selected for inclusion in top legal publications throughout the world. Chambers USA – America's Leading Business Lawyers ranked Holland & Knight as one of the leading aviation regulation practices and listed the head of our practice among the leading practitioners in the United States. In addition, both Euromoney Legal Media Group Guide to the World’s Leading Aviation Lawyers and The International Who's Who of Aviation Lawyers ranked Holland & Knight's lead aviation regulation partner to their annual guides.