Joint Ventures and Other Transactions AVIATION

The Aviation Practice has broad expertise in the creation of domestic and international strategic alliances involving aviation concerns. The practice group represents clients in a wide range of transactions including mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, hostile and friendly takeovers, securities offerings, and asset purchases/sales. Some examples are:

  • Airline alliances. The firm has been intimately involved in the creation of airline alliances that have fundamentally altered the industry's competitive landscape. We have advised clients in the negotiation, drafting and implementation of global passenger and cargo alliance agreements, and secured regulatory and antitrust clearances in both the United States and Europe for such alliances, and advised airline clients on their ability to undertake cooperative ventures consistent with the competition laws of the United States and the European Union (EU) and its member states.
  • Joint ventures. The firm has assisted clients in establishing and obtaining approval for a wide variety of domestic and international joint ventures. We have negotiated and drafted joint venture agreements to provide maintenance, repair and overhaul services, cargo services, and computer reservations services worldwide. We have advised an airport client on developing a joint venture with an airline to provide contract fueling services. We have also provided regulatory, corporate and tax counseling to an air cargo joint venture among three major international air carriers.
  • Airline transactions. We advise investment banks, airlines and other clients on the proper structuring of cross border airline transactions, including providing advice on regulatory restrictions on foreign ownership of airlines and on the aviation regulatory issues arising from proposed joint ventures, and monitoring of policy developments regarding airline acquisitions. Specifically, we have advised a major EU airline on its proposed tie-up with a non-EU airline, including comprehensive analysis of competition approval, foreign ownership and control issues, domestic political issues and retention of international traffic rights. We have also advised a foreign government with respect to the sale of a substantial minority interest in its flag carrier, including advising on corporate, international regulatory and other aspects of the transaction.
  • Restructuring. We have advised a significant international courier and express network on a variety of corporate and tax issues arising out of a major restructuring of its worldwide operations.
  • Airport development/operation. We have represented and counseled airport authorities and private sector operators/managers of airports in conjunction with several airport projects in the United States and elsewhere. We have also helped negotiate and obtain regulatory clearances for a first-of-its-kind public-private partnership for the operation of a major passenger terminal at an airport in Florida. We also advise airport proprietors on compliance with Federal laws.
  • Airport acquisition/investment. We have advised on airport acquisition and investment transactions in the US and overseas.
  • European acquisition of US assets. We represented a European airline in its acquisition of facilities and services from a major US airline in connection with that airline's discontinuation of service between Berlin and points in the Federal Republic of Germany after the reunification of Germany.
  • "Going private" transactions. We assisted a major regional courier and express delivery company listed on NASDAQ in connection with a "going private" tender offer transaction.
  • International joint venture. We advised a leading international aircraft maintenance and service provider with regard to the structuring and implementation of several joint ventures with aircraft or engine manufacturers in Germany, Malaysia and the UK including advising on relating technology, service and supply agreements and antitrust issues.
  • Structuring and consolidation of purchase and supply conditions. We advise a leading international aircraft maintenance and service provider with regard to the structuring and consolidation of purchase and supply conditions and with regard to specific issues arising in its relationships with customers, suppliers and sub-contractors in Germany, Europe and the US.
  • Aircraft maintenance and repair operations. We have assisted a leading provider of international aircraft maintenance and repair services in acquiring a US company that maintains and repairs VIP and business jets, and in establishing a joint venture in the Philippines. We have also assisted an MRO provider with a number of new aircraft maintenance agreements with airlines in Europe, the US and the Middle East.
  • Light-aircraft manufacturing. We have advised a foreign client on the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations, other legal requirements and product liability issues relating to the establishment of a light-aircraft manufacturing facility in the US.
  • Catering. We represented the catering subsidiary of a major European carrier in connection with the acquisition of a US airline catering business.
  • Slot exchange. We advised a major US carrier in negotiating an exchange of peak-time landing slots at a major EU hub airport.
  • Strategic investment. We have advised a major EU carrier in its strategic investment in another EU airline and in the expansion of its stake and provided advice with regard to ongoing strategic and management decisions, including possible cooperation with a third airline.
  • Acquisition of cargo airline. We advised the purchasers of a US airline that provides cargo services for a major international express delivery company.
  • Transfer of aviation assets. We have advised on multiple transactions involving the transfer of aviation assets regulated by the FAA (e.g., aircraft manufacturers, aircraft repair stations, type certificates, supplemental type certificates, and parts manufacturer approvals). We have handled both the corporate/transactional and aviation regulatory aspects of these transactions.
  • Collateral for secured financings. We have advised investment banks and lenders regarding the use of international routes and airport takeoff and landing slots as collateral for secured financings.
  • Negotiations for airlift. We represented an international courier and express network in negotiating an agreement with a US airline to provide airlift and related services for the transportation of air express packages throughout North America.
Crones, Christian

Dr. Christian Crones

Partner

+49 69 27 10 78 207 (t)

christian.crones@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

Ross, David J.

David J. Ross

Partner

+1 202 663 6515 (t)

david.ross@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