The global aviation industry faces considerable uncertainties and unprecedented disruptions. In an era of coping with ongoing consequences of global COVID-19 pandemic, decarbonisation agenda (including SAFs and other fuel-efficient alternatives), political instability and economic pressures, many airlines, operating lessors, financing providers and other stakeholders must make significant decisions about their operations, investments, capital expenditure programs, risk management approaches and other legal and business challenges – often across multiple jurisdictions.

Our international experience and deep resources support aviation clients with these and other needs, whether by helping to access much-needed liquidity, purchase more assets at attractive prices, take advantage of financing opportunities, lead restructuring negotiations or resolve insolvency situations.

Supporting our clients as they optimize their strategies

We have substantial experience and knowledge in the commercial aviation sector. The experience we have developed in representing airlines and operating lessors, their debt and equity financiers, manufacturers and multiple export credit agencies ("ECAs") throughout our global network gives us a clear understanding and perspective of the myriad issues that successful financings in this sector must creatively and effectively address.

The aviation business and our role – navigating complexity

Our global platform, cross-disciplinary approach and substantial industry knowledge combine to put us in a unique position to navigate the complexities our clients are facing.

Our lawyers have substantial experience in all products deployed or utilized in complex structured financings in this sector, including aircraft non-payment insurance ("ANPI") financings, enhanced equipment trust certificate ("EETC") financings, asset-based securitization ("ABS") transactions, warehouse loan facilities and pre-delivery payment ("PDP") financings. We have experience in all types of Japanese operating lease transactions ("JOLs" and "JOLCOs"), have advised and represented clients on equity and debt raises in the US capital markets and have advised and represented numerous clients in connection with high-profile airline bankruptcies and restructurings. We also routinely advise on acquisitions of and/or investments in aircraft leasing companies and aircraft portfolios, secured and unsecured bridge and revolving credit financings, non-US dollar capital raises, all aspects of ECA-supported and manufacturer financings, private jet financings and a wide range of regulatory and asset repossession matters.

In addition to our transactional work, White & Case provides its aircraft clients with a broad range of litigation and dispute resolution services. We advise owners, lessors, lenders and guarantors in the planning and exercise of remedies in connection with failed or defaulted financings, including the pursuit of actions for damages or specific performance in appropriate courts and arbitration tribunals. Our litigators have coordinated the arrest and repossession of aircraft in the United States and Europe and have pursued litigation for clients (both lessors and lessees) in several situations arising out of disputes over lease return and maintenance provisions. Our bankruptcy lawyers have significant experience representing aircraft clients in bankruptcy courts and in related federal and state court litigation.

Our team has also been at the forefront of new aviation market trends, including decarbonisation. Successfully navigating the global sectors' transformation to net-zero by 2050 requires advice from lawyers who have in-depth knowledge of the industry, regulatory environment, relevant stakeholders and local markets.

We are recognized as one of the few firms with established knowledge and experience in the developing market for the commercial financing of helicopter fleets, an emerging sector.


View all lawyers in Aviation



Most Highly Regarded Aviation Firms
Who's Who Legal 2023

Law Firm of the Year: Equipment Finance Law and National Tier 1: Equipment Finance Law
US News Best Lawyers Report 2022

Top 5 Aviation Law Firms Globally (by deal count and complexity)
AirFinance Journal Legal Survey 2015-2022

Band Three: Transportation: Aviation Finance
Chambers USA 2023

Band Two: Asset Finance
Chambers Global 2023

Americas Supported Finance Deal of the Year: JetBlue/Spirit
Airline Economics Aviation 100 2023

Restructuring Deal of the Year: LATAM Airlines Ch. 11
IFLR 2022

Restructuring Deal of the Year: LATAM Airlines Ch. 11
Latin Lawyer 2022

Restructuring Deal of the Year: Aeromexico Ch. 11
ISHKA Awards 2022

Americas Deal of the Year: LATAM Airlines Ch.11
ISHKA Awards 2022

Restructuring Deal of the Year: Avianca Ch. 11
Latin Lawyer 2021

Sale and Leaseback/Operating Lease Deal of the Year: Aeromexico
Airfinance Journal 2021

Asia-Pacific Deal of the Year: Philippine Airlines' pre-negotiated Chapter 11 restructuring
Airfinance Journal 2021

Loans Deal of the Year: LATAM Airlines DIP Financing
IFLR Americas 2021

Supported Finance Deal of the Year: SkyWest/AFIC/BNDES
Airline Economics' Aviation 100 – Americas 2021

Guaranteed financing Deal of the Year: Skywest Airlines AFIC-supported financing
Airfinance Journal 2020

Airlines AFIC-supported financing
Airfinance Journal 2020

Loans Deal of the Year: LATAM Airlines DIP financing
IFLR America 2020

Banking & Finance Deal of the Year – LATAM Airlines'
Latin Lawyer 2020

Africa Deal of the Year: Air Austral – Five Aircraft Commercial & PDP Loans
Airfinance Journal 2019

Latin America Deal of the Year: Avianca US$4.5 billion 53-aircraft Lease and Debt Re-Profiling Programme
Airfinance Journal 2019

Used Aircraft Deal of the Year: Sunclass Airlines Lease Restructuring for Three A321s
Airfinance Journal 2019


Archer's US$1 billion eVTOL order from United Airlines
Representation of Archer Aviation in connection with the investment and purchase by United Airlines, Inc. of Archer's electrical-powered vertical takeoff and landing ("eVTOL") aircraft. The aircraft purchase agreement includes a commitment for aircraft with a valuation of US$1 billion, with an option to acquire up to US$500 million of additional aircraft.

LATAM Airline's US$2.45 billion debtor-in-possession ("DIP") financing
Representation of LATAM Airlines Group S.A. and its affiliates in relation to the filing for voluntary reorganization via Chapter 11 of the US Bankruptcy code in May 2020, following a sudden and severe drop-off in passenger demand in response to the COVID-19 global pandemic.

US$1 billion loan facilities for SMBCAC
Representation of the Japan Bank for International Cooperation ("JBIC") on its US$1 billion loan facilities for SMBC Aviation Capital Limited ("SMBCAC").

Waypoint Leasing
Representation of Waypoint Leasing and its affiliates as special aviation counsel in connection with its Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings, including the sale to Macquarie Rotorcraft of approximately 125 aircraft on lease to 42 different lessees in 29 jurisdictions.

Airfinance Journal’s European Deal of the Year, 2018
Representation of Deutsche Bank in a US$227M JOLCO financing of a portfolio of 12 Embraer E190 aircraft leased by a leading regional aircraft lessor to an African Airline, a Spanish Airline and a Mexican Airline.

Global Transport Finance's "AFIC Deal of the Year: Africa", 2018
Representation of ING Capital and Société Générale in connection with a 12-year senior loan facility to finance Ethiopian Airlines Group's first five Boeing 737-800 aircraft. The senior loan facility is structured with Aircraft Non-Payment Insurance ("ANPI") cover under the Aircraft Finance Insurance Consortium ("AFIC") program, and represented the carrier's first AFIC deal.

Global Transport Finance's "JOLCO Deal of the Year: Latin America", 2018
Representation of Avianca in connection with a US$100 million loan guaranteed by UK Export Finance ("UKEF") to finance one B-787-8 aircraft. The UKEF loan was structured as a JOLCO that was arranged by Burnham Sterling & Co, with Sumitomo Mitsui Finance and Leasing Co providing the equity.

Global Transport Finance's "Aircraft Lessor Debt Deal of the Year: Asia", 2018
Representation of Vermillion, the leading Ireland-based aircraft leasing company and a joint venture between Cheung Kong Holdings and MC Aviation Partners. Our Japan-based banking & finance team advised Vermillion in connection with a large-scale, US$950 million secured financing for the refinancing of a portfolio of 40 aircraft. The US$950 million facility was provided by a group of 10 banks.

Airfinance Journal's "Overall Deal of the Year", 2017
Representation of ING Capital LLC, as lender and loan agent, in connection with the first ever aircraft finance non-payment insurance ("ANPI") financing, which involved the financing of a new 747-8i aircraft on financial lease to Korean Air Lines. The transaction is the first time commercial insurance was used as an alternative to a guarantee from The Export-Import Bank of the United States.

Kenya Airways on US$2 Billion Restructuring, 2017
Representation of Kenya Airways Limited, the Kenyan flag-carrier and one of Africa's leading airlines, on its US$2 billion financial restructuring. Key features of the restructuring include a reprofiling of payments owed to operating and finance lessors, a conversion of debts into newly issued equity in the company and the provision of a new multi-purpose facility from Kenyan banks. Following the transaction, Kenya Airways has been repositioned for long-term growth and is around 90 percent owned by the Government of the Republic of Kenya and a group of 11 local banks.

Airfinance Journal's "Tax Lease Deal of the Year", 2016
Representation of Aeroméxico in connection with their first JOLCO financing of three 787-9 aircraft with three different debt and equity syndicates.

Airfinance Journal's "Export Credit Deal of the Year", 2016
The world's first-ever Coface-guaranteed bond transaction financing ATR aircraft. Coface, as guarantor, in the US$143.7 million guaranteed floating rate notes privately placed and due in 2025 by Aeronautic Investments 18 Limited, a financing structure vehicle for Transportation Partners.

Airfinance Journal's "Capital Markets Unsecured Debt Deal of the Year", 2016
Morgan Stanley, as lead underwriter, in Alitalia's €375 million (US$413 million) senior unsecured bond private placement on the Irish Stock Exchange, which is recognized as the largest private placement transaction in Italy to date.

Copa Airlines JOLCO financings, 2016
Representation of Copa Airlines in a series of financings for Boeing's new 737-800 aircraft structured as Japanese Operating Leases with Call Options ("JOLCO"). This transaction represented the first Latin American airline in many years to have access to the JOLCO market. This was a landmark deal for Copa Airlines, and White & Case was instrumental throughout this complex, multi-jurisdictional financing which involved structured leasing through Japan, Panama and Ireland.

One of the largest private placement transactions in Italy, 2015
Representation of Morgan Stanley, as lead underwriter, in connection with Alitalia's €375 million (US$413 million) senior unsecured bond private placement on the Irish Stock Exchange. The bond was issued with notes denomination of €100,000, a term of five years and a fixed annual coupon of 5.25%. This transaction was awarded "Capital Markets Unsecured Debt Deal of the Year" by Airfinance Journal 2016.

First-ever Coface-guaranteed bond transaction financing ATR aircraft, 2015
Representation of Coface, as guarantor, in the US$143.7 million guaranteed floating rate notes privately placed and due in 2025 by Aeronautic Investments 18 Limited, a financing structure vehicle for Transportation Partners. The bond is reinsured by SACE, and was awarded "Export Credit Deal of the Year" by Airfinance Journal 2016.

First Italian tax lease combined with ECA support, 2015
Representation of Société Générale on the financing of five A330s for Turkish Airlines. This transaction is the first time that an Italian tax lease structure has been combined with ECA support from Euler Hermes, and was awarded "Trade & Export Finance Deal of the Year" by Bonds & Loans Turkey Awards 2015.

Atlas Air EETC Restructuring, 2015
Representation of Atlas Air, Inc., in connection with its partial refinancing of all three of its EETC transactions (1998, 1999 and 2000) that were previously restructured in its bankruptcy case in 2004, involving a redemption of all of the equipment notes related to five aircraft out of 12 aircraft originally financed by such EETC transactions. A partial refinancing of such EETCs is expected to have a significant impact on the overall capital structure and results of the operation of Atlas Air, Inc., not merely an asset financing transaction. This refinancing transaction, as far as White & Case is aware, has no precedent.