Aircraft Finance

  • Holland & Knight's Aircraft Finance Team has extensive global experience representing all types of borrowers, lenders, sellers and investors in the financing, leasing and trading of aircraft, helicopters, engines and spare parts.
  • Our attorneys have the in-depth knowledge that comes from structuring and advising on thousands of aircraft finance transactions – typically more than 250 transactions annually in numerous jurisdictions around the world.
  • With offices coast to coast in the United States as well as in London and Latin America, coupled with nimble support from our large corporate, regulatory and bankruptcy practices, our team is built to respond quickly to clients' needs.
Plane Takeoff


Holland & Knight is an international leader in aviation finance, advising clients in the purchase and sale of aircraft, engines and parts worldwide. During the past five years, we have worked with clients in more than 70 countries on the acquisition, financing, leasing, and structuring of aircraft and helicopter transactions. Our clients include the world's 10 largest aircraft leasing companies (and 17 of the top 20), major U.S. and international airlines, investment funds, investment banks, corporate jet owners, government guarantors, high-net-worth individuals and other key players in the wider aviation industry ecosystem. Combined, our clients own or manage more than 7,500 commercial aircraft.

We pride ourselves on our responsiveness in a fast-paced environment where deals typically involve parties in multiple and disparate time zones. With lawyers dedicated to this practice on both the East Coast and West Coast of the United States, as well as in London and Latin America, we work as a single, connected team, placing client relationships first.

Our Experience

Holland & Knight's aircraft finance lawyers work with prominent players in every sector of aviation finance, including most major leasing companies, major banks, alternative lenders, investment firms and airlines. We regularly act on novel and high-profile transactions, and our attorneys have a deep familiarity with the ever-evolving structures and products that are used in the industry. We provide our clients with practical solutions to complex issues and conflicting positions.

Examples of leasing, sales, debt financing, corporate and securitization transactions we have advised on recently include:

  • engine and aircraft lease portfolio securitization transactions, including asset-backed securitizations and enhanced equipment trust certificate transactions
  • lease portfolio acquisitions and sales
  • new orders of aircraft from all major manufacturers
  • joint venture and "sidecar" investment platforms
  • establishment of investment funds
  • Rule 144A placements and private debt and equity offerings
  • structured equity investments
  • freighter conversion financings
  • portfolio sale and leasebacks
  • progress payment financings
  • Japanese operating leases, including those with call options
  • export credit, including financing supported by the Export-Import Bank of the United States, European export credit agencies, the Brazilian Development Bank and Export Development Canada
  • nonpayment credit risk insurance products (Aircraft Finance Insurance Consortium and Balthazar)
  • traditional mortgage financings
  • debt-for-equity exchanges
  • lease receivables-for-secured notes exchange programs
  • leveraged loan portfolio acquisitions
  • distressed loan trades
  • aviation insurance claims trading
  • American depositary receipt and other capital markets transactions
  • commercial-paper-funded and long-term debt
  • foreign and U.S. double-dip tax lease structures
  • foreign government guaranteed financings
  • U.S. tax-based leveraged leases

Commitment to the Aviation Industry

Our participation in every aspect of the aviation industry makes us knowledgeable partners for our clients. Our attorneys are leaders in key organizations that support aviation finance and transactions. Every day, we talk to people on all sides of aircraft transactions around the globe, whether it's about the impact of COVID-19, Libor alternatives, parked 737s, nascent environmental regulations, international money markets, political developments and international tensions, changing regulatory regimes or other uncertainties that affect global finance. As a result, we provide our clients with the information they need to make sound business decisions and to select the most suitable financing and leasing structures.

Search any of the prominent aviation organizations, and you are likely to find a Holland & Knight attorney who holds a leadership position. We have long been participants in shaping the Cape Town Treaty, and three of our lawyers sit on the legal advisory panel executive committee of the Aviation Working Group. These are not just honorary positions; our lawyers lead groups that are analyzing recent Cape Town legal activity and are providing annotation to Cape Town's official commentary. Our colleagues at the American Bar Association (ABA) have called upon two of our attorneys in the past to chair the organization's Aircraft Financing Subcommittee. Our attorneys also are frequent lecturers at the annual Euromoney North America and Latin America Schools of Aviation Finance.

If you have attended an aviation conference in recent years, you probably had the opportunity to see one of our attorneys on a panel. We have spoken at aviation conferences in London, Singapore, Dublin, Berlin, Mexico City, Cairo and New York, among other cities. We commit to all of these activities to gain the latest knowledge for our clients about this complex industry.

Aviation Bankruptcy and Workouts

In collaboration with our bankruptcy and litigation teams, our aviation lawyers frequently represent secured lenders, lessors, trustees, agents and other creditors and parties-in-interest in workouts, restructurings and repossessions of aircraft in the United States and abroad. We also have extensive experience counseling many of these clients in insolvency proceedings involving U.S. bankruptcies of domestic and foreign airlines, manufacturers, lessees and other parties in the aviation industry, including in plenary cases under Chapter 7 or 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, ancillary cases in aid of a foreign insolvency proceeding under Chapter 15 of the Bankruptcy Code and regarding issues involving U.S. law arising in cases pending in foreign jurisdictions.

Since 2020, our team has been heavily involved in many high-profile Chapter 11 cases. We represented the owners of more than 40 percent of the aircraft leased to Philippine Airlines in its Chapter 11 restructuring, as well as representing the owners of over 40 percent of the Boeing and Airbus aircraft fleet leased to Avianca Group in its 2020 U.S. Chapter 11 reorganization proceeding. Additionally, we represented the owners of more than 40 percent of the Boeing aircraft fleet leased by AeroMexico airlines in its U.S. Chapter 11 reorganization proceeding.

Our attorneys review and structure transactions to address potential bankruptcy issues, advise clients in pre-bankruptcy planning and strategy, advocate for them during pending cases and represent them in insolvency-related litigation, including recharacterization and avoidance actions.

A Go-To Firm for Aviation Finance in Latin America

Holland & Knight's financial practices have a strong presence in Latin America. We have nearly 200 attorneys firmwide who are fluent in Spanish or Portuguese, as well as offices in Mexico City and Bogotá, both supported by more than 190 attorneys in our Miami office. We regularly act for a variety of lessors across from all the major Latin American carriers as well as many smaller operators. We are well versed in the jurisdictional nuances familiar to the key in-house teams and enjoy excellent relationships with a wide variety of leading local counsel in the aviation space, all of which has contributed to our reputation as the go-to firm for Latin American aviation transactions.

Recognized Leadership

The Chambers USA, UK and Global guides, as well as The Legal 500 rankings for the U.S. and United Kingdom, rank our aviation practice and its attorneys as among the best in the world. Chambers USA recognizes several of our aviation finance attorneys and client sources say, "The firm is very knowledgeable and up to speed on the latest market trends" and "Holland & Knight has an outstanding ability to handle complex matters." Additionally, Chambers UK highlights client sources that say, "The partners at Holland & Knight have a can-do approach and are particularly effective at thinking outside of the box" and that "Their service is flawless." Firmwide, we are supported by more than 250 practices, including related regulatory, tax, banking, corporate, securitization, litigation and bankruptcy. Our ability to collaborate with lawyers in related disciplines keeps deals on track and provides clients with the comprehensive representation that comes from having one team that can advise on all aspects of a matter. 


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