From major aircraft accidents to satellite risks, our aviation lawyers have provided assistance to the aviation industry and its insurers for more than 50 years.
With offices strategically located across the United States and in London and Hong Kong, we service the needs of the world's aviation insurers and their insureds throughout the Americas – whether in North America through our various offices or in Latin America and the Caribbean 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 region, seamlessly, through one firm.
We provide an array of services for our clients in these areas, which include:
- Product integrity reviews and loss prevention training
- Drafting and evaluation of product literature
- Product recalls
- Liability assessment
- Leasing and satellite contract interpretation
- Accident investigation
- Crisis management and communications
- Representation for National Transportation Safety Board investigations and public hearings
- Defense of multi-district litigation for mass tort and punitive damages claims
- Hull claims, including surface and engine damage
- Federal, state and international regulatory compliance, including Warsaw and Montreal Conventions, International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the U.S. International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) and the U.S. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC)
Locke Lord lawyers have represented airlines, airframe and component manufacturers or lessor and suppliers or security companies in connection with the following major losses:
- March 19, 2016 flydubai Flight 981 B737 loss where we represent aircraft owner GECAS in litigation filed in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois – ongoing.
- December 28, 2014 AirAsia Flight 8501 A320 loss where we represent component part manufacturer Artus S.A.S. and its corporate parent Meggitt Plc in litigation filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois - ongoing.
- September 5, 2014 Socata TBM 700 loss where we represent component part manufacturer Garmin International, Inc. in litigation filed in the New York Supreme Court, Monroe County – ongoing.
- November 29, 2013 LAM Mozambique Flight 740 Embraer 190 loss, where we represent the aircraft owner Air Lease Corporation in litigation filed in California Superior Court, Los Angeles - ongoing.
- January 12, 2013 Piper Aircraft loss where we represented Avidyne Corporation in litigation filed in Lamar County District Court, Paris, Texas – case dismissed with prejudice against our client.
- October 9, 2012 Piper Aircraft loss where we represented Avidyne Corporation in litigation filed in Harrison County District Court, Marshall, Texas – summary judgment secured.
- September 6, 2011 Aerocon Metroliner 227 loss where we represented aircraft lessors in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois – dismissal granted for lack of personal jurisdiction
- July 28, 2010 Airblue A321 loss where we represented the aircraft owner ILFC (AerCap) in litigation filed in California Superior Court, Los Angeles – case settled.
- June 30, 2009 Yemenia A310 near Moroni, Comoros where we represent the aircraft owner ILFC (AerCap) in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California – summary judgment granted, Ninth Circuit affirmed, companion case ongoing.
- August 20, 2008 Spanair MD-82 loss where we represent SpainAir – ongoing.
- June 10, 2008 Sudan Airways A310 loss where we represented Sudan Airways further to OFAC license – case settled subject to OFAC restrictions.
- March 10, 2008 Adam Air B737 loss, where we represented the aircraft owner CIT Leasing in litigation filed in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois – case settled.
- January 1, 2007 Adam Air B737 where we represented aircraft owner and lessor entities in MDL – case dismissed on FNC grounds.
- May 7, 2005 Metroliner 227 loss where we represented Saab Aircraft in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri, Circuit Court of Greene County, Missouri, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, and Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois – case settled.
- January 3, 2004 Flash Airlines B737 where we represented the aircraft owner ILFC (AerCap) in litigation filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California and the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Arkansas – cases dismissed on FNC grounds, refiled in France, FNC dismissal recognized through French Cour de Cassation, thereafter settled.
- May 25, 2002 China Airlines B747 where we represented China Airlines Ltd. in litigation filed in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois – case settled.
- September 11, 2001 American Airlines Flight 11 where we represent a target defendant, Globe Aviation Services Corporation, the preboard screening subcontractor to American Airlines in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York – cases settled except World Trade Center Properties – case dismissed following inverted damages trial, Second Circuit upheld all but one issue on appeal – remand ongoing.
Aviation Insurance Coverage
Aviation insurers have long relied on Locke Lord to provide coverage counseling concerning all manners of aviation, airline, products liability and satellite insurance policies. Our lawyers are well acquainted with aviation wordings and their interpretations in the industry and by U.S. courts. We also understand the business relationships and have been counted on to provide cost-effective counseling and resolution for over three decades. Moreover, our experience against all major policyholder counsel have made us the choice to defend against contentious, high value coverage disputes when alternative resolutions fail. For example, we have defended insurers' interests concerning coverage litigations over environmental damage at airports across the U.S. and Caribbean, the failed Boeing 702-series satellites, and, most recently, exposure claims made under the Alien Tort Statute by over 2,000 Ecuadorians arising out of aerial spray operations to eradicate drug crops in Colombia.
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.
The team of professionals at Locke Lord involved with UAS issues represent a wide range of litigation, transactional, regulatory, commercial, privacy, cyber and insurance backgrounds with specific and substantial experience in aviation matters. The group includes lawyers that are also aerospace engineers, pilots, and former UAV program management specialists providing clients a knowledgeable perspective of not only the legal issues but also the technical and practical aspects of operating UAS. As the use of UAS continues to increase and spread in the U.S. and across the globe, through our network of offices, Locke Lord is well positioned to assist both existing operators and new industry entrants wherever their needs may arise.
The FAA and civil aviation authorities of other nations are faced with not only addressing the safety and regulatory issues implicated with integrating a new class(es) of air vehicle, but also the increasing industry pressures to do so quickly. Staying abreast of these dynamics to best position clients to thrive in and positively influence this area is a primary focus of Locke Lord's aviation practice group.