Aviation

Our Practice

At Simmons & Simmons we have extensive experience and knowledge of financing and leasing aircraft, as well as managing defaults in numerous jurisdictions. Our strong aviation practice, which focuses on high value matters, aligns itself with the industry. We draw on specialist knowledge from all departments, including asset finance, capital markets, corporate, insurance, litigation, regulatory and tax (all of which operate as cross-border practices) to cover all aspects of the aviation industry and to provide the highest standard of client care.

Experience

Airlines

Air France
  • advising Air France on a €1bn syndicated revolving credit facility provided by 15 international banks.
Air New Zealand
  • advising Air New Zealand on the grant of a design licence from Virgin Atlantic relating to aircraft seats.
British Airways
  • advising British Airways on the outsourcing of its engineering stores and logistics operation for aircraft parts with a value of approximately £500m.
Carlson

  • advising Carlson on its merger with Thomas Cook which created JMC. Our work involved significant regulatory issues including issues of non EU ownership, EC merger control and US Department of Transport issues, advice on EC air transport regulations, route licensing under the Civil Aviation Act and bonding and balance sheet issues raised by the CAA.
Cathay Pacific Airways Limited
  • advising this major airline on its loyalty programs and co-branding agreements and on commercial and litigation intellectual property matters in Hong Kong.
International Air Transport Association (IATA)
  • advising IATA and 14 airlines in relation to the TIM/Timatic transaction. TIM/Timatic is a major international provider of air passenger travel information.
Oman Air
  • advising Oman Air on its fleet expansion program including its acquisition, leasing and financing of five new Boeing 737s.
SEPI

  • advising SEPI (a Spanish government holding company) in relation to the privatisation and IPO of Iberia. This involved a thorough review of the Iberia business and its contractual arrangements, including a detailed analysis of the regulatory regime under which the airline operates (both within Spain and at EU level). The IPO was the most significant share offering involving an airline in 2001
  • advising SEPI/ Teneo S.A. and Iberia on the financial restructuring of Iberia in advance of its privatisation through the disposal of its interests in three South American airlines – Aerolineas Argentinas, Austral and Ladeco.


For reasons of client confidentiality we are unable to disclose client names in the following cases:

A major European airline
  • advising a major European airline in relation to arrangements setting up online booking engines facilities in co-operation with a US market leader Internet portals provider, and on the competition law implications of code sharing agreements and global airline alliances.
A major European alliance
  • advising a major European airline alliance on the planned integration of their commercial sectors on a European and domestic level.
An international airline
  • advising an international airline on noise control legislation at Brussels airport and taking proceedings before the Council of State seeking annulment of this legislation.
Eight major European airlines
  • advising in relation to a complaint to the European Commission in respect of an Italian decree (the Burlando Decree) concerning the distribution of air traffic at Milan’s Linate and Malpensa airports. The Commission upheld the airlines’ complaint.
Various international airlines
  • advising a number of international airlines on employment issues, including on the ‘outstationing’ of cabin crew.

Airports

ANA (Portuguese Airports Authority)
  • advising a consortium headed by SSB and CAA on pitching for the privatisation of ANA (Portuguese Airports Authority).
ANAM (Portuguese/Madeira airport authority)
  • advising Bank Berlin Gesellschaft on a Euro 47,400,000 Schuldschein loan to ANAM.
Athens Airport
  • advising on an arbitration covering Athens Airport with an approximate value of US$50m.
Dutch airports advice
  • advising on claims within the public sector; the planning of the airport in Schiphol and Rotterdam.
German airports advice
  • advising Flughafen Düsseldorf, the Düsseldorf airport corporation, on a range of matters
  • advising the public owners of a regional airport on its privatisation of a regional airport.
Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA)
  • our Hong Kong office was closely involved in the £12bn construction of the new airport. Projects we advised on included: the contract documentation for the air traffic control systems for the new airport (Hong Kong Government); the contract documentation, project management, claims preparation and dispute resolution relating to the baggage handling system for the new airport (Swire Engineering Services); the electrical and mechanical main contract for the terminal building (AEH Joint Venture); disputes under their contract for the lighting of the north runway for the new airport (Thorn Lighting); disputes arising out of their construction contract for the new aircraft maintenance facility at the new airport (HAECO); and a dispute on behalf of a major construction company in relation to the airport terminal building at Chep Lap Kok.
International Airline
  • advising an international airline on noise control legislation at Brussels airport and taking proceedings before the Council of State seeking annulment of this legislation.
Lisbon airport
  • advising ABN AMRO (as financial advisor to the Portuguese Government) on the new Lisbon airport at Ota, and advising DHP, a leading Dutch consultant, as operational advisor to the Portuguese Government on the project.
London City Airport (LCA)
  • acted on the first securitisation of airport revenues in Europe, raising £100m for LCA. £100m 7.886% Secured Notes Due 2021 of City Aviation Finance Limited, LCA's holding company, were placed with institutional investors.
Mediobanca and Barclays
  • our London and Milan offices advised in connection with the transfer to Consorzio Leonardo of a 51.2% stake in Aeroporti di Roma, the Rome airports operator, from state holding company Istituto per la Ricostruzione Industriale S.p.A. for US$1.23bn. Simmons & Simmons acted for Mediobanca and Barclays, as mandated managers, on the financing aspects of the deal.
Ogden Aviation
  • advising a leading provider of aviation support services, in connection with the finalisation of a transaction under which Ogden Holdings BV (a subsidiary of Ogden Aviation Emea) was selected as joint venture partner in relation to the bid for the purchase of a 49% stake in ADR Handling. ADR Handling is the new joint venture company which will be set up with Aeroporti di Roma S.p.A. in the wake of the Italian Government's scheme for the privatisation of the handling services sector. The new company will take over Aeroporti di Roma's handling activities at Roma's Fiumicino Airport. This transaction is the first of its kind in Italy following the implementation of the EU Directive on the privatisation of the handling services sector.
Peel Holdings plc and Copenhagen Airports AS
  • advising on the tender to acquire the concession to operate London Luton Airport.
Peel Holdings plc
  • advised in relation to the acquisition of Liverpool Airport. This involved the consideration of some important environmental issues as well as dealing with the local councils, who required certain undertakings regarding the airport's future operation.
Province of Limburg
  • advising the Province of Limburg on the investment in its regional airport infrastructure, to be combined with a restructuring and privatisation path.

Specialist Expertise

Airlines

Aviation lawyers across our network of offices represent international airlines and service providers to the aviation industry, including financiers, operating lessors and manufacturers. In such a rapidly developing market, where competition and regulation continue to shape the industry, clients have benefited from our expert advice in mergers & acquisitions, asset finance, EU and competition law, capital markets, employment, environmental law, tax, insolvency and dispute resolution.

Airports

Our international aviation team provides legal advice to airport operators and their suppliers covering a broad range of areas including privatisations, strategic alliances, joint ventures, financing and securitisation, national and EU air transport regulation, commercial, IT outsourcing, logistics, planning, real estate & construction, environmental and employment law.