With offices in the United States, Europe and China, WilmerHale has one of the world’s premier aviation practices.

Our aviation practice covers the full range of regulatory, antitrust, corporate and litigation matters involving air carriers, airline alliances, airport operators, aircraft and engine manufacturers, aviation service providers (e.g., fuel, ground handling, repair services), trade associations and civil aviation authorities. The firm has a wide range of industry-specific experience in strategic investments in the aviation sector (including cross-border consolidations), issues arising from industry liberalization and aviation-related bankruptcy proceedings.

The firm also handles aviation matters for aerospace companies, from aircraft manufacturers to MRO providers to suppliers of aircraft parts and equipment. We represent such companies in licensing, certification and enforcement proceedings at the Department of Transportation/Federal Aviation Administration. We have advised clients on bilateral and multilateral aviation-related negotiations. We also have advised both private companies and government bodies on a variety of regulatory and transactional issues related to air traffic control. More broadly, we provide strategic counseling on legal and policy issues before US and European aviation regulators, as well as the US Congress and the European Parliament.

Our Aviation Practice Group attorneys have extensive industry experience and include former government officials.

With offices in the United States, Europe and China, WilmerHale has one of the world’s premier aviation practices.

Our aviation practice covers the full range of regulatory, antitrust, corporate and litigation matters involving air carriers, airline alliances, airport operators, aircraft and engine manufacturers, aviation service providers (e.g., fuel, ground handling, repair services), trade associations and civil aviation authorities. The firm has a wide range of industry-specific experience in strategic investments in the aviation sector (including cross-border consolidations), issues arising from industry liberalization and aviation-related bankruptcy proceedings.

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Heffernan, David

David Heffernan

Chair, Aviation Practice Group

+1 202 663 6360 (t)

david.heffernan@wilmerhale.com

Crones, Christian

Dr. Christian Crones

Partner

+49 69 27 10 78 207 (t)

christian.crones@wilmerhale.com

Heffernan, David

David Heffernan

Partner

+1 202 663 6360 (t)

david.heffernan@wilmerhale.com

Holter_Michael.jpg

Michael Holter

Partner

+44 (0)20 7645 2574 (t)

michael.holter@wilmerhale.com

Lowe, James W.

James W. Lowe

Partner

+1 202 663 6059 (t)

james.lowe@wilmerhale.com

Ohlhoff_Stefan_lo.jpg

Dr. Stefan Ohlhoff

Partner

+49 30 20 22 63 55 (t)

stefan.ohlhoff@wilmerhale.com

von Hehn, Paul A.

Paul A. von Hehn

Partner

+32 475 902 965 (m) +32 2 285 49 03 (t)

paul.vonhehn@wilmerhale.com

Wissmann, Matthias

Matthias Wissmann

Senior International Counsel

+49 30 20 22 64 26 (t)

matthias.wissmann@wilmerhale.com

Rabinovitz, Bruce H.

Bruce H. Rabinovitz

Senior Counsel

+1 202 663 6960 (t)

bruce.rabinovitz@wilmerhale.com

Experience

In recent matters, our Aviation Practice Group:

  • Represented partners of a global commercial airline alliance in applying to the USDOT for expansion of a grant of immunity from US antitrust laws for the addition to the alliance of a major US airline. We also represented a US airline in connection with a review of the proposed alliance expansion by the US Department of Justice and a European airline in connection with a parallel review by the European Commission's Directorate-General for Competition.
  • Advised a European airline on corporate, antitrust and aviation regulatory law aspects of its recent acquisition of a substantial minority ownership interest in a US airline. The transaction represented the first major investment by an EU airline in a US airline following the signing of the US-EU open skies air transport agreement in 2007.
  • Provided US and European aviation regulatory and antitrust advice to a leading European airline in connection with the acquisition of another European airline.
  • Advised a foreign government with respect to the privatization, via asset sale, of its flag air carrier. We had primary responsibility for all corporate, international regulatory and other aspects of this complex transaction, which involved separate tenders for the airline and its ground handling and maintenance/repair businesses.
  • Assisted carriers in negotiating slot exchange agreements at London Heathrow airport.
  • Represented a US airline and a foreign air carrier in successfully appealing decisions by the Transportation Security Administration ("TSA”) requiring the carriers to pay millions of dollars in additional Aviation Security Infrastructure Fees.
  • Successfully represented a US airline trade group in appealing a New York statute requiring airlines experiencing extended pre-departure ground delays to provide passengers with specified amenities. The appellate court agreed with our argument that federal law preempts state laws relating to the service of any air carrier.
  • Advised on numerous business jet aircraft transactions for various of the firm’s corporate and private clients (including transactions involving the purchase or sale of companies or assets, including aircraft, the purchase and sale of individual aircraft, and fractional aircraft interests). We also advised clients on compliance with tax, SEC, and FAA regulatory requirements associated with the ownership and operation of corporate aircraft.

Publications & News

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February 19, 2014

Kanzleimonitor.de Survey of In-House Counsel Finds WilmerHale Among Top 20 Firms in Germany

WilmerHale has been named among the top 20 most recommended law firms in Germany by Kanzleimonitor.de 2013/2014.

February 13, 2014

NIST and DHS Release Final Cybersecurity Framework, Roadmap, and Voluntary Program for Cybersecurity Assistance

Yesterday, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) released the final version of the voluntary federal cybersecurity standards known as the Cybersecurity Framework, along with a “Roadmap” explaining how the government will work with the private sector, other countries, and international organizations to refine and improve the Framework over the next several years.

January 27, 2014

New US and EU Guidance on Interim Agreement for Iran Sanctions Relief

As we have discussed previously, on November 24, 2013, the United States and the other members of the P5+1 (United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia and China) reached agreement with Iran on the JPOA, an initial understanding on the disposition of Iran's nuclear program.

January 6, 2014

Inside the Minds: Complying with Transportation Regulations

WilmerHale Partner David Heffernan authored a chapter in the newly-released book, Inside the Minds: Complying with Transportation Regulations.

November 27, 2013

Understanding Iran Sanctions for US Business: The New Agreement Brings Some Change But Much is Left the Same

On November 24 in Geneva, the United States and the five other members of the P5+1 reached an initial agreement with Iran with the aim of ensuring that Iran's nuclear program will be entirely peaceful. Under the agreement, the United States and the EU will ease certain sanctions on Iran for a period of six months. However, this "limited, temporary, targeted, and reversible" sanctions relief means that US and foreign firms must closely monitor the implementation of the agreement.

September 30, 2013

WilmerHale Receives “Top Tier” Ranking in 2013 Legal 500 UK

The Legal 500, the United Kingdom's guide to outstanding lawyers, has announced its annual rankings selecting WilmerHale as a top tier law firm in dispute resolution - international arbitration, and highly recommending the firm in nine other categories.

August 30, 2013

NIST Issues Discussion Draft of Preliminary Cybersecurity Framework

April 5, 2013

WilmerHale Collectively Launches Cologne Compendium on Air Law in Europe

January 3, 2013

President Signs New Cybersecurity Provisions in Defense Authorization Act

October 1, 2012

President Obama Issues Order Prohibiting Foreign Acquisition of US Company

On September 28, 2012, President Obama issued an order prohibiting a Chinese-owned company from acquiring four U.S. wind farm project companies. Although the U.S. government has not disclosed the national security issues raised by the transaction, the Treasury Department stated that the “wind farm sites are all within or in the vicinity of restricted air space at Naval Weapons Systems Training Facility Boardman in Oregon.”

Recognition

  • Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers in Business consistently recognizes our aviation group with a nationwide ranking, and in 2013, lauded our practice for its "highly distinguished list" of aviation clients. Individually, Partner David Heffernan is described by clients as "'top-notch' when advising on international aviation regulatory and antitrust matters."
  • Consistently ranked in Chambers UK in the aviation (regulatory) category. Comments about our practice have included "expertise ranges from 'open skies' agreements and cartel investigations to issues surrounding airline privatisations and mergers.” Michael Holter has also earned individual recognition, and as Chambers stated, "elicits praise from clients for his thorough understanding of clients' needs."
  • Legal 500 UK 2012 ranked our aviation practice, and individually recognized Michael Holter and Duncan Speller as "highly recommended" in the sector.