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 250 aircraft acquisition, financing, leasing and restructuring transactions on average over each of 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 70 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.
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:
- Who's Who Legal listed eight Holland & Knight attorneys in its Who's Who Legal: Transport 2020 edition for Aircraft Finance.
- The 2020 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). Also, the firm's Securitization and Structured Finance Law practice was placed in the first tier nationally and locally (San Francisco).
- Chambers UK 2020 guide named Partner Robert Ricketts as a "notable practitioner" for Aviation Commercial and Senior Counsel Timothy Murray as a "notable practitioner" for Aviation Dispute Resolution.
- The Legal 500 United Kingdom 2020 guide recommended Aviation Finance Partners Robert Ricketts and Gwyn O'Flynn as well as Senior Counsel Timothy Murray in Aviation, with additional recommendations for Robert Ricketts and Gwyn O'Flynn, along with Partner Victoria Koob and Associate Fabio Miceli, in Transport Finance and Leasing.
- Expert Guides: Aviation 2019 recognized 20 Holland & Knight attorneys in the guide's list of top aviation lawyers.
- Partner John Pritchard named as the 2019 Aviation Finance Lawyer of the Year by Who's Who Legal. It is the fourth time he has earned this honor.
- Chambers High Net Worth 2019 guide recognized Business Aviation attorneys Jonathan Epstein, Juan Carlos Ferrer, John Pritchard and Robert Ricketts in the Private Aircraft: Global-wide category.
- The Legal 500 United States 2019 guide recognized Holland & Knight among the top eight U.S. firms for Transport: Aviation and Air Travel – Finance. Aviation Finance Partners Fred Bass and John F. Pritchard were highlighted as "Hall of Fame" lawyers in the guide, with William Piels as a "Leading Lawyer," Carrie Friesen-Meyers and Nathan Leavitt as "Next Generation Lawyers," and individual mentions for Brian Daigle, Phillip Durham and Richard Furey.
- Chambers USA – America's Leading Lawyers for Business 2019 guide rated Holland & Knight's aircraft finance practice among the top seven in the United States, and our Aviation Finance Partners Phillip Durham, William Piels and John Pritchard were named "notable practitioners" in the United States.
- Chambers Global – The World's Leading Lawyers for Business 2019 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.
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:
- multiple chairs of the American Bar Association Subcommittee on Aircraft Financing
- multiple chairs of the Legal Advisory Panel to the Aviation Working Group in connection with the Cape Town Convention
- chair of the International Registry Advisory Board
- chair and lecturers for the annual Euromoney North America School of Aviation Finance in New York
- chair and lecturers for the annual Euromoney Latin America School of Aviation Finance
- speaking on a wide variety of aircraft finance topics at various conferences