Aircraft Finance

  • Holland & Knight's Aircraft Finance Team has earned an international reputation for transactional work involving the domestic and cross-border acquisition, financing and leasing of aircraft, engines and spare parts.
  • Our lawyers are results-oriented and have successfully closed hundreds of transactions on behalf of the world's leading airlines, financial institutions, leasing companies and manufacturers.
  • Our team and its members are active participants in aviation organizations and are regularly recognized as leaders in the industry by legal publications throughout the world.
  • Our team's presence across offices in multiple time zones ensures clients that coverage is timely, responsive and serves their best interests.
  • For timely updates on aviation law, bookmark our Aviation Law Blog.  

Long recognized as a leader in aviation law by legal publications throughout the world, Holland & Knight's Aircraft Finance Team has extensive experience in aircraft financing transactions. Clark Ricketts, a well-established London law firm whose practice is devoted to transportation law, with a focus on aircraft finance, joined Holland & Knight in May 2016. Our structured finance attorneys have completed more than 300 aircraft acquisition, financing, leasing and restructuring transactions over the past five years, including transactions involving nearly every airline based in the United States or the United Kingdom as well as airlines and corporate jet operators based in more than 60 foreign countries. Our aviation law clients include leading names among U.S. domestic and international airlines, corporate jet owners, financial institutions, aircraft leasing companies, investment banks, manufacturers, government guarantors and high net worth individuals.

Acquisition, Leasing and Financing Accomplishments

With experience representing both operators and financiers in aircraft financing transactions, our team has a thorough understanding of the interests of the parties involved. At the outset of a transaction, we draw on our broad and diverse experience to develop legal recommendations designed to best meet the business objectives of our clients. During the course of negotiations, we place a strong emphasis on creating practical solutions to resolve conflicting positions.

Our structured finance practice encompasses a full range of complex transactions in domestic and cross-border acquisition, financing and leasing of transportation assets. Our experience is extensive and includes operating leases, U.S. tax-based leveraged leases, complex foreign and U.S. double-dip tax lease structures, traditional mortgage structures, securitizations and U.S. Ex-Im Bank aircraft financings.

Aircraft Leasing and Sales Transactions

Our team members have completed hundreds of aircraft leasing and sales transactions, including those involving:

  • U.S., domestic, U.S.-to-foreign, foreign-to-U.S. and foreign-to-foreign leveraged and single investor financing leases (with and without ownership or commission FSCs) and operating leases, including lease-in/lease-out structures
    JLLs and JOLs
  • lease and loan participations
  • sale/leaseback transactions involving financing leases and operating leases
  • lease portfolio acquisitions and sales
  • acquisitions and sales of commercial aircraft, corporate jets and fractional shares and helicopters
  • like-kind exchange transactions
  • credit support from parent corporations, manufacturers and financial institutions, including asset value and deficiency guarantees, as well as payment and performance guarantees and letters of credit
  • new orders of aircraft from all major manufacturers
  • joint venture agreements between financial institutions and between airlines and financial institutions

Debt Financing and Securitization Work

We regularly assist aviation clients and financiers with all forms of debt financing and securitizations, including:

  • U.S. Ex-Im Bank guaranteed financings, foreign government guaranteed financings and European ECA supported financings
  • EETCs and EEETCs
  • engine lease portfolio and aircraft lease portfolio securitization transactions
  • Rule 144A placements and private debt and equity offerings
  • American Depositary Receipt transactions and other capital markets transactions
  • other securitization transactions, including commercial-paper-funded and long-term debt
  • progress payment financings
  • secured financings of aircraft, engines and spare parts

Aviation Workouts and Repossessions

Our aviation lawyers frequently represent both creditors and lessors in workouts, restructurings and repossessions of aircraft in the U.S. and abroad. In addition, we have extensive experience counseling clients with respect to U.S. airline bankruptcies and pre-bankruptcy planning.

Industry Recognition

Our team and its members have a long history of being recognized as leaders in aviation law by top legal publications throughout the world. Our most recent honors include:

  • Chambers High Net Worth 2018 guide recognized Aviation Finance attorneys Jonathan Epstein, Juan Carlos Ferrer, John Pritchard and Robert Ricketts in the Private Aircraft: Global-wide category.
  • Chambers USA – America's Leading Business Lawyers 2018 guide rated Holland & Knight's aircraft finance practice among the top six in the United States, and our Structured Finance Partners Fred Bass, Phillip Durham, William Piels, John Pritchard, M.J. Spelliscy and Audrey Sung were named "notable practitioners" in the United States.
  • Chambers Global – The World's Leading Lawyers for Business 2018 guide rated Holland & Knight's aviation finance practice among the world's leading firms and Aircraft Finance Partners William Piels and John Pritchard were named "notable practitioners" global-wide.
  • Corporate INTL named Holland & Knight the 2018 Aircraft and Equipment Finance Law Firm of the Year in New York as part of the publication's annual global awards program.
  • The Legal 500 United Kingdom 2017 guide recommended Structured Finance Partners Robert Ricketts and Gwyn O'Flynn, and Senior Counsel Timothy Murray in Aviation, with an additional recommendation for Robert Ricketts, along with Partner Victoria Koob in Asset Finance and Leasing.
  • Who's Who Legal listed 10 Holland & Knight attorneys in its Who's Who Legal: Transport 2018 edition for Aircraft Finance.
  • The 2018 U.S. News – Best Lawyers® "Best Law Firms" guide placed Holland & Knight's Equipment Finance Law practice in its first tier nationally and locally (New York and San Francisco).
  • The Legal 500 United States 2017 guide recognized Holland & Knight among the top four U.S. firms for Asset Finance and Leasing. Structured Finance Partners Fred Bass and John F. Pritchard were highlighted as "Leading Lawyers" in the guide, which included mentions for Phillip Durham, William Piels and Jovi Tenev. The guide also recognized Holland & Knight among the top three U.S. firms for Aviation and Air Travel, with individual mentions for Fred Bass and William Piels.
  • Chambers UK-wide 2017 guide named Partner Robert Ricketts as a "notable practitioner" for Aviation Commercial and Senior Counsel Timothy Murray as a "notable practitioner" for both Aviation Dispute Resolution and Aviation Regulatory.
  • Euromoney Legal Media Group 2015 Guide to the World's Leading Aviation Lawyers recognized Holland & Knight Structured Finance Partners Fred Bass, Richard Crowley, Phillip Durham, Richard Furey, Nathan Leavitt, William Piels, John Pritchard, Robert Ricketts and M.J. Spelliscy, and Senior Counsel Timothy Murray.
  • Expert Guides Best of the Best Aviation 2014 has recognized five Holland & Knight attorneys in guide's list of Top 30 Aviation Lawyers in America. With more than 15 percent of the total listed attorneys, the firm had more lawyers recognized in Aviation than another other any other firm.
  • The International Who's Who of Aviation Lawyers guide named Holland & Knight Structured Finance Partners William Piels, John Pritchard, Richard Furey, Fred Bass and M.J. Spelliscy to its 2014 edition.
  • Law Business Research Limited named Holland & Knight Partner John Pritchard "Aviation Lawyer of the Year" in 2014-2016 as part of the publication's Who's Who Legal Awards program.

Commitment to the Aviation Industry

Our status as a recognized leader in addressing the legal concerns of aviation industry participants is the result of our extensive experience as well as our active involvement in a variety of endeavors that support the industry. Our current and past activities include:

  • chair and incoming chair of the American Bar Association Subcommittee on Aircraft Financing
  • chair of the Legal Advisory Panel to the Aviation Working Group in connection with the Cape Town Convention
  • serving on the International Registry Advisory Board
  • chair for the annual Euromoney Airfinance Legal Conference in Washington, D.C.
  • chair and lecturers for the annual Euromoney School of International Airfinance in New York
  • speaking on a wide variety of aircraft finance topics at various conferences
  • writing numerous articles in industry publications and chapters in aviation law treatises including the 2017 issue of Volume 7 – Civil Aviation of The Encyclopaedia of Forms and Precedents.