Chambers Canada: Canada’s Leading Lawyers for Business 2017 ranks Blakes #1 in Transportation: Aviation:
“Renowned for its representation of international aviation financiers, major lessors and government export credit agencies, as well as aircraft and engine manufacturers."
Blakes has Canada’s largest aviation law practice, and with it comes the expertise and experience to help our clients navigate the complex and challenging world of aviation law and regulation (in both official languages). Our team is comprised of dedicated professionals with backgrounds in the aviation industry, commercially trained pilots, former regulators and former employees with Transport Canada Aviation, and former officers and managers of various aviation businesses. Those in the Canadian and international aviation industries retain us because we understand their unique business and legal challenges and the business environment and regulatory frameworks within which they operate.
Most of the world’s largest aviation manufacturers (including aircraft and engine manufacturers), aircraft and engine leasing companies and advisors, government export credit agencies, aviation financiers, international banks and hedge funds, and other investors in aviation, rely on us for advice. We also represent aerospace manufacturers and satellite system operators in respect of commercial products liability, regulatory and financial matters.
Our aviation practice focuses on:
Aircraft and Engine Finance - Blakes lawyers are experienced with commercial aircraft and engine acquisitions/dispositions, operating leases, cross-border leveraged and finance leases, export-credit financings and aviation loans and mortgages. We frequently advise on, and negotiate, conditional sales, sale/leasebacks, manufacturer-supported sales and financings, pre-delivery payment financings, public debt and equity and commercial paper financings. We also advise and negotiate with regards to securitizations, aircraft lease novations, aircraft warehouse financing arrangements and aircraft portfolio purchases and sales. Several innovative financing and security structures that we have developed are now current market practice in Canada.
Working closely with the Government of Canada and Canada’s major airlines, both as members of the Canadian delegation, and subsequently in respect of ratification in Canada, Blakes has been instrumental in the initial drafting, international acceptance, and the Canadian ratification and implementation of the Cape Town Convention in Canada.
Aviation Commercial and Tax Matters - Clients rely on our extensive industry-specific experience in such matters as aircraft asset risk management, aviation maintenance, aircraft/engine return conditions, certification issues, overhaul, and supply and services contracts. We also regularly offer counsel on aviation tax matters with respect to purchasing, selling and financing airliners and business and general aviation aircraft.
Aviation Regulation - Those in the aviation industry benefit from our experience dealing with Transport Canada Aviation on airworthiness (including audits), certification, registration, deregistration, import and export matters. We also have experience dealing with the Canadian Transportation Agency on licensing, code-sharing, and foreign investment/control matters and proceedings. We often work with foreign aviation authorities on regulatory matters applicable to Canadian aircraft.
Aviation Bankruptcy, Restructuring and Litigation - The Blakes Aviation/Aerospace group has been involved in every significant Canadian airline bankruptcy and insolvency proceeding during the last 25 years, including: Wardair, Odyssey International Airlines, Vacationair, Worldways, Nationair, Can-Air Cargo, Vistajet, Canadian Airlines International Ltd., Inter-Canadien, Canada 3000, Royal Airlines, All-Canada Express, Knighthawk, Air Canada, Jazz, Jetsgo, Zoom Airlines and Skyservice Airlines, among others. We have represented clients in a number of aircraft repossession and insolvency disputes, including with NAV CANADA and Canada’s various airport authorities, and aviation commercial disputes.
Aviation Insurance - We advise on all types of aviation insurance, including every aspect of liability, aircraft hull, war risk and political risk insurance, as well as aircraft repossession/deregistration insurance. Working closely with Transport Canada Aviation and Air Canada, we assisted in the development of the Canadian government’s war risks undertaking and indemnity programs.
Business and General Aviation - Buyers, sellers, operators, managers and charterers of business and general aviation aircraft all rely upon Blakes for advice on their business and general aviation aircraft transactions.
Our aerospace practice focuses on:
Airport Regulation - We have advised several airport operations, including various municipalities and investors in respect of airport regulations across Canada.
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) - We have extensive experience in respect of the development, certification, operation and regulation of UAVs/UASs/Drones for both military and commercial purposes in Canada. We also have experience working with remote-sensing legislation and related licensing issues.
Aerospace Procurement - We have considerable experience in advising aerospace original equipment manufacturers, investors and service providers in respect of government procurement processes in both commercial and military aerospace projects in Canada.
Aerospace Product Liability - Our team includes lawyers with extensive experience in the defence of product liability claims and lawyers who regularly provide advice to corporate clients regarding prevention of product liability claims and related insurance issues.
Satellite Finance and Regulatory Matters - We have extensive experience advising satellite providers, operators and financiers with respect to satellite systems. We have advised on the acquisition and sale of companies and the financing of projects involving a range of structures, including: initial public offerings; joint ventures, mergers and acquisitions; secured and unsecured syndicated debt financing and project finance. We frequently work with foreign aerospace authorities on applicable regulatory matters.
Aviation and Aerospace Mergers and Acquisitions - Our Aviation/Aerospace M&A practice has included a number of domestic and international investments in Canadian aviation and aerospace undertakings, and Canadian aviation and aerospace investments overseas.
Blakes lawyers are active supporters of Canada’s aviation and aerospace industries. Several team members are pilots, student pilots and aircraft owners. We are active members of the Air Transport Association of Canada (ATAC), Canadian Business Aircraft Association (CBAA), Aerospace Industries Association of Canada (AIAC), Canadian Owners and Pilots Association (COPA), Aviation Working Group (AWG) (Legal Affairs Committee), AWG Canada Contact Group, International Society of Transport Aircraft Trading (ISTAT), Canadian Bar Association (CBA) (National Air & Space Law Section), International Bar Association (Maritime and Aviation Law Section), American Bar Association (ABA) (Aircraft Financing Subcommittee/Aircraft Finance and Contracts Division), Canadian Aviation Regulatory Council (CARAC), Women in Aviation, Women in Aerospace, the 99s, and other industry and aviation legal associations.