The aircraft procurement, leasing, financing and management sector is a multi-billion dollar per year industry. Both the aircraft leasing and aircraft financing industries have significantly evolved in the past 30+ years with manufacturers, financiers, aircraft lessors, airlines and private operators constantly looking for different sources of funding and alternate finance arrangements. As the economy shifts from strong cycles to weaker cycles (and vice-versa), these aircraft industry players are in continuous discussions to find innovative, yet fiscally responsible, leasing and financing methods.
Bennett Jones' experience in aviation law is unparalleled in Canada. Our strength lies in advising clients with an understanding of their short, medium and long term business goals. We provide practical business law advice, focused on our clients' needs. We enjoy growing with our clients, through building and enhancing relationships based on trust and understanding.
We can offer strategic insight and clear counsel on issues such as asset (whether aircraft or otherwise) procurement, finance and leasing, structured finance and securitizations, airport infrastructure, general banking and finance, taxation, securities, regulatory compliance including foreign ownership restrictions and insolvency matters.
What Clients Say
Bennett Jones LLP has a specialist aviation practice, which is sought after by major airlines and aircraft operators to advise on the full suite of financing, leasing, acquisition and regulatory matters.
Bennett Jones is one of only two Canadian law firms recognized in Band 1 for Transportation: Aviation by Chambers and Partners ranking of Canada's Leading Lawyers for Business.
Practice Area Highlights
- Asset/Equipment Finance & Leasing - Bennett Jones' aircraft finance and leasing experience includes many cross-border transactions, structured finance transactions and some of the most complex arrangements in the aviation industry for major Canadian airlines as well as the implications of the Cape Town Convention. Our experience focuses on both the financial aspects of the transactions but also the operational aspects, including maintenance, insurance and return conditions.
- Aircraft Procurement and Management - Bennett Jones has acted for airlines, corporations and individuals in connection with purchase and sale transactions ranging from the purchase of fleets of new aircraft from manufacturers to used private aircraft transactions for individuals. We have a good understanding of the technical issues involved in aircraft purchase and sale transactions.
- Aircraft Maintenance Arrangements - Bennett Jones has extensive experience advising clients on long term technical-logistical contracts for engine and rotable parts maintenance and exchange programs. These contracts range from all-inclusive management arrangements to complex, long-term, multi-million dollar maintenance and logistical arrangements that provide operators with an opportunity to lock in maintenance rates while outsourcing the risks associated with owning and managing their own inventory to support the aircraft. Bennett Jones lawyers have been involved in the design, negotiation and drafting of several such contracts, providing the benefits of our broad experience in order to coordinate all aspects of the commercial arrangement including: harmonization of inventory pooling with aircraft lease and credit facilities; management of cross-border risks associated with parts repair and exchange, customs and taxation issues; and design and structuring of maintenance cost reconciliation models.
- Taxation - Our tax lawyers have a broad range of significant experience on both the Canadian and cross-border aspects of transactions in the aviation industry as well as the securitization, financial services, resource, manufacturing, communications, technology, real estate, transportation, and power (conventional and alternative) sectors. We have extensive experience in this regard working with aircraft operators as well as lessees, lessors and financial institutions.
- Aviation Incidents & Litigation - Bennett Jones also advises airlines, aircraft owners, aircraft management companies, lenders, directors and other clients in respect of aircraft accidents. We advise on emergency preparedness and the development of appropriate policies and procedures. We lead our clients through emergency and crisis response to the occurrence of aircraft accidents accidents, including initial reporting, insurance, media management, and we take particular pride in our approach to working collaboratively with the Transportation Safety Board, Transport Canada and the RCMP in the course of their various investigations and interviews.
- Foreign Ownership Restrictions and Other Regulatory Matters - In the mergers and acquisitions context, our lawyers have particular experience advising potential sellers of, and investors in, Canadian aviation operations in relation to compliance with foreign ownership restrictions under the Canada Transportation Act and Canadian Aviation Regulations, as well as the impact that the provisions of investment treaties and free trade agreements to which Canada is a party may have on those restrictions. We also have significant experience advising clients on the application of the merger review provisions of the Competition Act and the Canada Transportation Act (having acted as lead regulatory counsel on one of only two airline mergers to have been subjected to a full merger review under the Canada Transportation Act).
- Repossession, Restructuring & Insolvency - Our lawyers have expansive experience across Canada in the repossession of aircraft from defaulting borrowers and lessees. This experience includes the many practical issues surrounding access to aircraft on airport lands, ongoing storage, insurance and maintenance of repossessed assets and the application of the Cape Town Convention. Our lawyers have also played significant roles in most major Canadian restructurings and, in addition to being involved in restructuring proceedings in every province of Canada, have developed a particular expertise in cross-border matters, including restructurings across Europe, Central America, Australia, and, of course, the U.S.
- Airport Infrastructure - Bennett Jones’ experience also extends beyond aircraft finance and procurement to include extensive advice on the development, operation and financing of critical airport infrastructure projects such as fueling and de-icing storage and distribution facilities and operations