Aviation & Aerospace

Overview

The aviation and aerospace industries face ongoing challenges in the areas of regulation, operations, transactions and complex, high-stakes disputes. Our experienced attorneys and government policy advisors have the industry-specific knowledge to help our clients navigate everything from buying, selling and financing aircraft, to litigation, dispute resolution and regulatory issues.

We represent enterprises and individuals involved in purchasing, leasing, financing and selling aircraft. We defend airframe manufacturers, engine and component manufacturers, airlines, owners and operators in lawsuits. We assist fractional business aircraft operators, insurers, and financial entities in transactions and dispute resolution. Whether negotiating routine sales or purchases of aircraft or providing counsel on sophisticated operational issues, we leverage Firm resources from a number of practice areas to deliver solutions that meet specific client needs.

Finance/Transactions

Our team is experienced in virtually every type of aviation and aerospace transaction, including purchase, sale, lease and finance of aircraft and/or fractional interests; contracting for maintenance and operations of air carrier certificate holders; secured transactions involving aircraft foreclosure, repossession, and sale of aircraft; and pilot and enterprise licensure. We also regularly structure commercial agreements relating to airport operations, including gate agreements; address merger and acquisition issues involving aircraft owners and/or operators; and provide counsel with respect to both domestic and international airline startups. 

Government Policy

Dykema’s government policy professionals provide lobbying services as well as regulatory, legislative and government advice. The team maintains close relationships with federal regulatory agencies, governmental agencies, and legislators in order to provide our clients with an exceptional level of guidance.   

Bankruptcy

A combination of experience, knowledge and firmwide resources lets us respond quickly with creative, targeted solutions for clients facing aircraft foreclosure and repossession and/or bankruptcy issues affecting operators, aircraft, gate agreements and other similar parties and relationships.

Taxation

A thorough grounding in federal and state tax codes is the bedrock of our effective advice in the areas of planning and execution of aircraft acquisition; holding and sale strategies that minimize applicable taxes; the formation and documentation of lease arrangements to defer tax obligations; tax aspects of aircraft ownership and use, including transfers; and setting up and certifying FAA Part 91, 121 and 135 operations.

Litigation

Our litigators have a strong track record in complex, high-stakes aviation cases in state and federal courts. Representative work includes product liability claims against manufacturers of engines, airframes and components; negligence suits against owners and operators; and commercial disputes involving aviation aircraft, airline, executive jet and cargo aircraft.

Real Estate

Our real estate attorneys are experienced in the full array of issues relating to airport development, zoning and land use.

Intellectual Property

We counsel clients on virtually every issue involving aviation systems, from patent prosecution to intellectual property licensing; patent infringement litigation; and trademark, copyright and trade secrets litigation.

Experience Matters

  • Defended general aviation airframe and engine manufacturers in high-stakes wrongful death and personal injury suits, obtaining dismissals for the clients on legal and factual grounds, without payment of settlement monies.
  • Defended major military and civilian avionics manufacturer in commercial litigation, prevailed on motion and succeeded on counterclaim, obtaining summary judgment for our client.
  • Successfully defended the airframe manufacturer in lawsuits arising from the nation's second worst aviation disaster, a federal court jury trial that lasted 18 months.
  • Served as lead counsel to second largest U.S. airport in more than 25 airline bankruptcies, working in conjunction with the United States Department of Transportation on Passenger Facility Charge litigation on behalf of various airports in airline bankruptcy cases nationwide.
  • Negotiated and closed the sales of a substantial part of a corporate general aviation fleet, including transport-category aircraft.
  • Negotiated agreements for all aspects of the operation of a Part 125 air carrier operating for the benefit of a professional sports team.
  • Several of the Firm's lawyers are active pilots with advanced ratings.

Speaking Engagements