Aviation INDUSTRIES

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

Our practice covers the panoply of regulatory, antitrust, corporate and litigation matters involving air carriers, airline alliances, airport operators, trade associations and civil aviation authorities. The firm has a wide range of industry-specific experience in strategic investments (including cross border), consolidation and the necessary regulatory approvals, issues arising from industry liberalization and bankruptcy proceedings.

The firm handles aviation matters for aerospace companies as well, 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 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 practice covers the panoply of regulatory, antitrust, corporate and litigation matters involving air carriers, airline alliances, airport operators, trade associations and civil aviation authorities. The firm has a wide range of industry-specific experience in strategic investments (including cross border), consolidation and the necessary regulatory approvals, issues arising from industry liberalization and bankruptcy proceedings.

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Contacts

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Crones, Christian

Dr. Christian Crones

Partner-in-Charge, Frankfurt Office

+49 69 27 10 78 207 (t)

christian.crones@wilmerhale.com

Novick, Robert T.

Robert T. Novick

Co-Managing Partner

+1 202 663 6140 (t)

robert.novick@wilmerhale.com

Crones, Christian

Dr. Christian Crones

Partner

+49 69 27 10 78 207 (t)

christian.crones@wilmerhale.com

Lowe, James W.

James W. Lowe

Partner

+1 202 663 6059 (t)

james.lowe@wilmerhale.com

Mueller, Thomas

Thomas Mueller

Partner

+1 202 663 6766 (t)

thomas.mueller@wilmerhale.com

Novick, Robert T.

Robert T. Novick

Partner

+1 202 663 6140 (t)

robert.novick@wilmerhale.com

Wissmann, Matthias

Matthias Wissmann

Senior International Counsel

+49 30 20 22 64 26 (t)

matthias.wissmann@wilmerhale.com

Meltzer, Ronald I.

Ronald I. Meltzer

Senior Counsel

+1 202 663 6389 (t)

ronald.meltzer@wilmerhale.com

Experience

In recent matters, our Aviation Practice:

  • 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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August 10, 2016

Civil Penalties Set to Increase Significantly, Many Present Retroactivity Concerns

Over the past several months, many federal agencies have adopted rules significantly increasing the maximum civil monetary penalties (CMPs) they can potentially impose. The increased penalty amounts were adopted in response to recent legislation from Congress requiring that federal agencies make adjustments to “catch up” with inflation.

July 13, 2016

Civil Fines Jump Across Agencies Under Inflation Adjustment Act

Civil fines across federal agencies have recently been increased dramatically under the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015 (2015 Act) (Sec. 701 of Public Law 114-74), with some more than doubling. Companies violating the Hart-Scott-Rodino (HSR) Improvements Act, the Securities and Exchange Act, or the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA), among others, could soon face civil monetary penalties that are up to 150% higher than the existing levels. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the 2015 Act would increase the federal government's revenue by $1.3 billion over the next ten years.

March 8, 2016

Enhanced North Korea Sanctions Adopted

The United Nations Security Council approved a Resolution last week imposing new sanctions against North Korea in response to its recent nuclear and missile tests. This UNSC action follows the enactment of the North Korea Sanctions and Policy Enhancement Act of 2016 by the United States in late February.

January 19, 2016

Iran Nuclear Sanctions Relief Implemented: New Opportunities Await Non-US Companies, but Comprehensive US Transaction and Export Restrictions Remain in Effect

On January 16, 2016, the United States, its negotiating partners and Iran announced the arrival of Implementation Day for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, to which the parties agreed on July 14, 2015 with respect to the Iranian nuclear program.

December 15, 2015

WilmerHale Recognized as Top Firm in Germany and US in Survey of German In-House Counsel

WilmerHale was recently recognized as a top law firm in Germany and the United States by kanzleimonitor.de 2015/2016, a survey of the German Federal Association of in-house counsel (Bundesverband der Unternehmensjuristen e.V.).

July 15, 2015

Final Deal Reached on Iran Sanctions Relief

On July 14, 2015, the United States and its P5+1 negotiating partners, together with Iran, announced the final terms of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) concerning Iran’s nuclear program.

April 15, 2015

Congressional Panel Approves Legislation on Iran Nuclear Deal

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee unanimously passed legislation that would allow Congress to review—and potentially block—any final deal reached with Iran over its nuclear program.

December 12, 2014

WilmerHale Recognized as Top Firm in Germany and the Americas

The German Federal Association of In-House Counsel (Bundesverband der Unternehmensjuristen e.V.) has recognized WilmerHale in its kanzleimonitor.de survey, which ranks law firms in Germany based on evaluations from in-house counsel.

October 15, 2014

EU Proposals to Regulate the Acquisition of Minority Shareholdings

The EU is currently planning to introduce a new merger control-based filing requirement for acquisitions of minority shareholdings.

October 3, 2014

The Legal 500 UK Honors WilmerHale with Top Rankings in 2014 Edition

The Legal 500, the United Kingdom's guide to outstanding lawyers, has again selected WilmerHale as a top-tier law firm in dispute resolution - international arbitration, and highly recommends the firm in nine other categories. The guide also names three lawyers to its "leading individuals" list, and recognizes a total of eight of the firm’s London-based lawyers

Recognition

  • Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers in Business consistently recognizes our aviation group with a nationwide ranking. In 2014, clients praised the group for its ability to "identify the risks and opportunities so that we are ahead of the game."  
  • 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.