From major aircraft accidents to satellite risks to aircraft financing to regulatory matters, Locke Lord covers a wide range of issues affecting the aviation industry today. The Firm’s aviation defense lawyers have provided assistance to the aviation industry and its insurers for more than 50 years. Locke Lord provides services related to product liability, airlines, aircraft lessors, airport and general aviation. The team has extensive experience handling litigation, mediations and arbitrations as well as with aircraft acquisition, sales, financing, leasing, regulatory compliance and risk management for aviation transactions.
With offices strategically located across the United States and in London and Hong Kong, we can meet our clients' needs across the globe. We have almost limitless international 'reach' through our comprehensive international network of correspondents and contacts. Locke Lord has the ability to deal with matters that touch and concern countries throughout the world, seamlessly, through one firm.
Defense and Government Contracting
The United States and its allies spend hundreds of billions of dollars annual on products and services. Our team of experienced professionals can guide you through every legal issue domestically and abroad. This area, though complex offers an excellent area for business growth. We have experience in areas such as contracting, finance, compliance, offsets, novations, teaming, work for private parties (WFPP), cooperative research and development agreements (CRADA), 8A contracting, Truth in Negotiations Act (Tina), False Claims Act and Qui Tam, Intellectual Property and Data Rights, General Services Administration (GSA), Claims and Protests and Subcontract Flow through clauses. Our clients include large prime government contractors, start-ups, manufacturers, universities, and suppliers. We understand the business of government contracting and offer tailored solutions for your business.
We have experience in Government transactions around the globe including the UK, Turkey, France, Italy, Greece, Canada, Brazil, Japan, Korea, Saudi Arabia, India, Australia, Malaysia, Chile, The Netherlands, and Germany. We have established entities, partnerships and strategic alliances which involve our deep knowledge of global anti-corruption sustainment and export/import.
Manufacturers work hard to develop and market effective, safe products. When their products are attacked, we guide them through the complexities of product liability. We work quickly to protect the products' reputation and minimize the disruptions claims can cause. Our experience and background enable us to work with in-house counsel, product designers and engineers to develop defenses that take maximum advantage of the product research and development. We are equipped to defend against product liability claims in all jurisdictions. However, because of our extensive experience, we can help you prevent or reduce product liability claims by providing advice on product quality control, document retention and accident investigation objectives and techniques. Our experience includes:
Our lawyers have experience handling major airline cases throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean. We have an established practice that handles all aspects of corporate finance and governance in the airline sector including M&A, joint ventures, buy outs, privatizations and disposals. In addition, airlines from other regions and their aircraft lessors may be sued in U.S. courts, despite the flight, passengers and incident often having little or no connection to the United States. We are recognized internationally as a leading firm in defending non-U.S. airlines and their aircraft lessors. Our lawyers advise on numerous types of airline contracts including: commercial procurement and outsourcing, IT contracts, IP arrangements, agreements with travel agents and other distribution arrangements (GDS/CRS), fuel supply, MROs, groundhandling and numerous operational issues in the United Kingdom, Europe and Africa.
We also advise airlines on the operation of aircraft including licensing of flight crew; noise and emissions; numerous operational issues; and registration and deregistration.
Our experience includes:
Locke Lord has experience representing airports and entities concerning their legal liability for accidents, security, regulations and air traffic control matters that arise at the world's airports. We advise operators, airport "clubs", investors, funders, airport companies, civil aviation authorities, airlines, suppliers, franchisees and contractors in relation to a variety of matters. We work with both privately owned and government controlled airports and provide an array of services, which include:
We have long handled a wide range of matters involving general aviation. Our experience includes:
Federal law limits the registration of aircraft to individuals and entities recognized as "citizens of the United States" a term that excludes many partnerships. The sometimes murky federal regulations also limit the ability of operators of general aviation aircraft to obtain reimbursement from persons who fly on their planes. The acquisition or leasing and disposal of aircraft often involve complex federal income tax considerations. Aircraft also can be tempting targets for property tax collectors, but careful adherence to state tax laws sometimes can reduce this tax. Use of a corporate shell or a single-asset LLC to own an aircraft can unexpectedly render the owner a commercial operator, requiring strict compliance with the same detailed safety regulations that govern charter operators. Failure to comply with these regulations can result in heavy fines and in the loss of insurance coverage.
Our lawyers can assist you with all these issues. We have extensive experience in all aspects of business aircraft, including acquisitions, sales, financings, leases, tax-free exchanges, owners in management and operations arrangements, FAA regulations issues, methods of U.S. aircraft registration for non-U.S. persons and all related federal, state and local tax aspects. Our clients include corporations, limited liability companies and other types of organizations, their executives, and individuals who recognize the time savings that an ownership interest in a jet can achieve. We also represent banks, aircraft lessors and creditors' committees. Our experience includes:
Unmanned Aircraft Systems
The Aviation Practice Group at Locke Lord remains at the forefront of advising and protecting the interests of leading aerospace industry participants – including all manner of aircraft and component part manufacturers, aircraft owners and operators, lessors, airlines, airports, and their insurers and reinsurers. In line with its long standing tradition, Locke Lord has been examining the proposed integration of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), inclusive of the particular vehicles (UAVs or "drones") and their operators, into U.S. airspace and has been actively assisting commercial and insurance clients on the developing legal and regulatory issues in this exciting and fast-changing area. As a full-service law firm with a broad base of experience assisting all manner of aerospace companies and market professionals, Locke Lord's aviation group is uniquely suited to advise clients in the continually emerging UAS market.
Intellectual Property and Trademark
Our Aviation and Defense lawyers are able to call on the experience of our well-regarded Intellectual Property practice when the need arises. Because of our depth in key technologies, we have earned a reputation for delivering practical, cost-effective, business-driven solutions in a wide range of sectors. Clients turn to us for complex prosecution, sophisticated transactions and difficult litigation involving patents, trademarks, trade secrets, copyrights, licensing and domain names.
Locke Lord lawyers Chris Barth, Hugh Balsam and Matthew Kalas (all of Chicago) secured a decision by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals which affirms in full the district court’s grant of summary judgment to the Firm’s client, a leading international aircraft lessor.
Locke Lord advised China Aircraft Leasing Group Holdings Limited in connection with its member company, Aircraft Recycling International Limited’s acquisition of a 100 percent equity interest in Universal Asset Management, Inc.
Locke Lord client International Lease Finance Corporation (ILFC) won a major decision in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, which granted summary judgment, dismissing all claims against the company stemming from a 2009 airline crash.