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Aviation finance in France

Norton Rose Fulbright

Norton Rose Fulbright‘s Paris team ‘knows the industry perfectly’, advising on all matters relating to aviation finance, including regulatory matters, new financing structures, lessor trading activity, retrenchment, as well as day-to-day operations as companies respond to market developments. The practice works in close cooperation with its in-house tax and dispute resolution specialists on the financing side of aviation transactions. With many years of experience, the team led by George Paterson is ‘particularly good at innovative transaction structures’. Marc Hamilton and Sébastien Allain are integral to the team.

Responsables de la pratique:

George Paterson

Les références

‘Very available, knows the industry perfectly, and offers innovative solutions when necessary. Very pleasant and friendly personal contact. Excellent working atmosphere. Great confidence in execution.’

‘Very high legitimacy and recognition in the sector. Excellent working relationship with George Paterson and Sébastien Allain and great confidence in their advice.’

‘They have an enormous depth of knowledge and experience in aircraft financing directly. They are also excellent resources on additional transaction-related topics across the firm that are brought in expediently when needed – taxes, insurance, sanction, etc.’

‘Having seen so many transactions, they are particularly good at innovative transaction structures. Also, their steady demeanor is much appreciated.’

Principaux clients

Crédit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank

Principaux dossiers

  • Advised UKEF on an ECA-supported financing of two Airbus A350 aircraft for Ethiopian Airlines.

HFW

HFW has had extensive experience in large-scale fleet restructuring for French airlines, particularly throughout the pandemic period. Testament to its expertise, the firm has been continuously instructed by Air Corsica in the negotiation of several transactions, including the sale and leaseback of two Airbus A320ceo with Lixxbail. Advising clients on their industry breakthrough activities, the team has assisted shipping company CMA-CGM with the launch of its air cargo activity. Pierre Frühling handles both aviation transactions and disputes as well as aviation finance in Paris and Brussels.

Responsables de la pratique:

Pierre Frühling

Principaux clients

Air Austral

Air Corsica

Air Tahiti Nui

Aircalin

Bank of America

Cargolux

CMA CGM

Corsair

Croatia Airlines

Goshawk

Hi Fly

KUWAIT INTERNATIONAL BANK K.S.C.P.

Mont Blanc Helicopteres / HBG Group

Vietnam Airlines

Principaux dossiers

  • Advised Air Corsica in several important fleet transactions in 2020-2021 to keep the company profitable in spite of the Covid crisis.
  • Assisted the French ship-owner CMA CGM with launching its air cargo activity in 2021.
  • Advised Goshawk in the context of the Restructuring proceedings of Lion Air opened before the Commercial Court of Paris on 21 June 2021.

Hogan Lovells (Paris) LLP

Hogan Lovells (Paris) LLP‘s ‘dynamic, dedicated, responsive’ team is a sought-after counsel for numerous leading financial institutions. Its expertise encompasses export credit agency-supported financings, acquisition financing and disposal of individual or aircraft portfolios. Other work includes advising on on commercial and tax-based financings, Islamic financings, pre-delivery payment financings, and securitisations, often with an international element. Alexander Premont is the head of the practice. Alexandre Salem and Guergana Zabounova are also noted.

Responsables de la pratique:

Alexander Premont

Autres avocats clés:

Alexandre Salem; Guergana Zabounova

Les références

‘The team is dynamic, dedicated, responsive and shows a great capacity for adaptation. Not only does it master the issues of aviation financing, but it also does not hesitate to capitalise on the other expertise of the Paris office.’

‘Alexander Prémont – a responsive, accessible, constructive partner, very involved in matters, both clear and relevant in negotiations. Alexandre Salem: a dedicated and accessible lawyer, with solid knowledge, in particular in security law. Guergana Zabounova: also a very good lawyer, with a constructive approach.’

‘Remarkable team. They stood by us in these complex times while offering constructive solutions to all parties. Great job!’

‘Alexander Premont, Alexandre Salem and Guergana Zabunova provided us with outstanding service. Besides, their interpersonal skills are great.’

Principaux clients

Swissport Financing S.à r.l. / HNA Group Co Ltd

Société Générale

UBS

Natixis

BRED Banque Populaire

BNP Paribas (Suisse)

La Banque Postale

Natixis

CACIB

Rolls-Royce

Stephenson Harwood

Stephenson Harwood‘s aviation finance team has acted on some of the major aircraft financings, restructurings, and transactions taking place in the French market over the past year as well as on many international transactions involving French banks and key airlines. Strengthening its position in aviation finance, the firm welcomed Laurence Hanley to the team in 2021, joining from Stream – Avocats et Solicitors. Hanley, who focuses on borrower side work, now leads the practice alongside Edward Campbell. Associate Maria Miller is highlighted for being ‘reliable’ and ‘knowledgeable’. 

Responsables de la pratique:

Edward Campbell; Laurence Hanley

Autres avocats clés:

Maria Miller

Les références

‘Very responsive and client-friendly. Flexible on fees.’

‘Maria Miller – excellent lawyer, very good client care skills.’

‘Excellent knowledge, accommodating and reliable and efficient.’

‘Maria Miller – reliable, knowledgeable, hard-working.’

Principaux clients

AIR CÔTE D’IVOIRE (ACI)

AIR FRANCE

TRANSAVIA FRANCE

LION AIR GROUP

AIRASIA

AVICO GROUP

CASTLELAKE

AVOLON (FORMERLY CIT)

AERGO

BBAM AIRCRAFT LEASING & MANAGEMENT

CIC (CRÉDIT INDUSTRIEL ET COMMERCIAL)

MERX AVIATION SERVICING LIMITED

MACQUARIE AIRFINANCE

BOC AVIATION LIMITED

CLOSE BROTHERS LIMITED

DREAMJET

ACOFI GESTION

Principaux dossiers

  • Advising Babcock and Brown Aircraft Management on various transactions, including a transfer of ownership and lease agreement novation with Air France, Transavia and ASL Airlines France.
  • Assisted Air Côte d’Ivoire with their purchase agreement for the acquisition of several Airbus A319/A320 Aircraft, including NEOs which are currently being financed, as well as Bombardier Q 400s aircraft.
  • Acted as counsel for Air France on several transactions including the sale and leaseback of the first aircraft making the first long-haul flight on sustainable fuel and the sale-leaseback of two Boeing 777F long-haul freighter aircraft.

Watson Farley & Williams LLP

Watson Farley & Williams LLP‘s ‘very personable and professional team’ continues to advise a broad range of manufacturers, export credit agencies, arrangers, lessors and banking clients on a range of English and French law transactions. Alexia Russell is the key contact in the Paris office. The hire of Philippe Monfort from Hogan Lovells (Paris) LLP in January 2020 and the May 2021 counsel promotion of Marc-Alexandre Tremblay bolstered the French team.

Responsables de la pratique:

Alexia Russell

Les références

‘Very personable and professional team. Accessible, prompt and friendly.’

‘The team is responsive and proactive, there is no need to relaunch or follow the process, the team does not just advise but genuinely drives the deals until closing.’

‘Marc-Alexandre Tremblay is pragmatic and does not create unnecessary tensions or debates. This makes it possible to be more efficient and ultimately to limit legal costs.’

‘Very responsive, thorough, dedicated, and helpful team. Very good fees structure.’

‘The WFW team is very pro-business and has the ability to offer innovative solutions. It does not seek to impose ready-made solutions, but looks at each transaction with a fresh eye.’

‘Easy to access and professional, the WFW team is a real business partner in the progress of cases. Alexia Russell, Marc-Alexandre Tremblay and Isabella Roberts are available and provide good advice. Their pragmatic approach makes them great lawyers to work with.’

‘Broad experience and knowledge in French insolvency procedures. Willing to share knowledge and information about the matter, able to provide straight and swift answers to customers’ questions.’

‘Especially enjoyed working with partners Alexia Russell and Pascal Roux, and senior associate Pierre Chipaux. All were highly professional, reliable, punctual, clear in communication, experienced, easy to work with and trustworthy.’

Principaux clients

French Ministry of Defence

HSBC

Eurazeo

Principaux dossiers

  • Providing assistance to French Ministry of Defence in relation to the carrying out of their A400M aircraft programme and in connection with the preparation of new contracts and amendments to the existing contractual documentation.
  • Advising subsidiaries of HSBC Leasing France on (i) the finance leasing to Turkish airline MNG Airlines (lessee) and cargo conversion of two Airbus A330-300 aircraft with MSN 879 and 889 and (ii) the transition from LIBOR to SOFR.
  • Advising 2A Leasing managed by Eurazeo, as buyer/lessor, in relation to the guaranteed sale, leaseback, subleasing and forward purchase of two (4) Airbus Helicopters EC135 helicopters operated in France by entities of the HBG France group.

Odi-Sé Avocats

Odi-Sé Avocats advises across a range of aviation sectors: commercial aviation, business aviation, helicopters, and defence. The team has a strong track record in the structured financing of defence-related equipment and the outsourcing of services and equipment by the French Ministry of Defence. The arrival of Thomas Boone in 2019, significantly reinforced and expanded its restructuring and insolvency capacities. With 30 years of experience in aviation law under his belt, Matthieu de Varax  is a true expert.

Responsables de la pratique:

Matthieu de Varax

Principaux clients

BNP Paribas

Crédit Agricole CIB

BRED Banque Populaire

Air Caraïbes

Air Austral

French Bee

Rive Private Equipment

TAP Air Portugal

Nova Capital Helicopter Leasing

Medicopter Lease

Air Tahiti Nui

Principaux dossiers

  • Advising Lixxbail, Crédit Agricole Leasing & Factoring, as lessor regarding the sale and leaseback of two aircraft operated by Air Corsica, as lessee.
  • Assisting financial institutions, as lenders, on several financings of the acquisition of business jets.
  • Advising Nova Capital Helicopters Two Limited, as borrower and lessor, on the senior financing of the acquisition and the sale and leaseback of one helicopter operated by the Babcock International Plc group in Sweden.

Ravet & Associés

Ravet & Associés' aviation finance practice is led by Richard Jadot, with the French-Australian dual-qualified transport and corporate law expert Valérie Claver providing key support. With almost 40 years of experience in the field of aviation finance advising lenders, aircraft and aircraft engines lessors, manufacturers, airline companies, brokers, and consultants, Jadot's clients are in safe hands, including in aircraft repossession and financing restructurings.

Responsables de la pratique:

Richard Jadot

Autres avocats clés:

Valérie Claver

Principaux clients

CORSAIR

Engine Lease Finance Corporation

CREDIT AGRICOLE

NATIXIS

CAISSE d’EPARGNE

AIR FRANCE

CAIRE airline (Compagnie Aérienne Inter-Régionale Express)

Aerovision International

Vedder Price

BRED Banque Populaire

Principaux dossiers

  • Advised Corsair for the legal and tax aspects of a lease financing of two Airbus A330-900 NEO aircraft with Avolon.
  • Assisted Engine Lease Finance Corporation with the refinancing of General Electric aircraft engines for Air France.
  • Advised Engine Lease Finance Corporation for the leasing of CFM aircraft engines for Transavia France.

Reed Smith

Reed Smith handles a range of financing transactions for industry participants, including banks and non-bank lenders, arrangers, lessors, leasing companies, export credit agencies, and airlines.