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Donald Gray

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  • Aircraft lessors and financiers in every significant Canadian airline bankruptcy proceeding in 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, Skyservice and Aveos, and WOW, among others

  • GECAS, the major aircraft lessor and debtor-in-possession vendor, on the successful Air Canada Restructuring, which received an Airfinance Journal "Deal of the Year" Award in 2004

  • The underwriters in Air Canada’s historic Enhanced Equipment Trust Certificate (EETC) financing of its 2013 B777 deliveries, which was the first "true" EETC completed by a non-U.S. airline and which received both Airline Economics and Air Finance Journal "Deal of the Year" awards in 2014

  • The underwriters in Air Canada’s 2014-1, 2015-1, 2015-2 and 2017-1 EETC financings

  • The underwriters in Air Canada's 2017-2 EETC financing, which was the first modern EETC not issued in U.S. dollars

  • The principal investor in Air Canada’s 2020-1 EETC "Super C" issuance

  • U.S. EXIM Bank and Canadian lender on the 2014 bond financing of five new Boeing MAX aircraft for Air Canada (this was the first ECA-backed aircraft bond financing closed in Canada)

  • WestJet on its 2020 acquisition by Onex, which received Canada M&A Deal of the Year award at the International Financial Law Review Canada Awards

  • The financiers in respect of the application of the Cape Town Convention in the U.S. bankruptcy proceedings for each of Canadian Helicopters, PHI and Bristow Helicopters

  • China Development Bank on its 2020 sale and leaseback of 12 of WestJet's grounded MAX fleet

  • Jackson Square Aviation on the sale and leaseback of two of Air Canada's grounded MAX fleet

  • Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) on a major Canadian aerospace M&A transaction

  • Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) on a major Canadian aerospace M&A transaction

Awards & Recognition

Donald is recognized as a leading lawyer in aviation law and equipment finance law. He was named Lawyer of the Year for Transport – Aviation Finance in the Who's Who Legal Awards 2017 and Toronto Aviation Law Lawyer of the Year in 2015 by Best Lawyers.

Donald is also consistently listed in many international ranking publications, including, most recently, in the following:

  • The Best Lawyers in Canada – 2021–2023 (Aviation Law and Equipment Finance Law)

  • The Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory 2022 (Asset Equipment Finance/Leasing and Aviation (Regulation & Liability))

  • The Legal 500 Canada – 2021–2022 (Leading Lawyer – Transport: Aviation)

  • Chambers Canada: Canada's Leading Lawyers for Business – 2021–2022 (Band 1 – Transportation: Aviation: Finance)

  • IFLR1000: The Guide to the World's Leading Financial and Corporate Law Firms – 2022 (Asset Finance)

  • Who's Who Legal: Canada 2021 (Transport – Aviation Finance and Canada – Transport Aviation)

  • The Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory 2020 (Asset Equipment Finance/Leasing and Aviation)

  • The Legal 500 Canada 2020 (Aviation)

  • Who's Who Legal: Thought Leaders – Global Elite 2020 (Aviation – Donald is in the top two per cent of global lawyers in his practice area)

  • Who's Who Legal: Canada 2020 (Aviation)

  • Who's Who Legal: Transport 2020 (Aviation Finance)

  • Legal Media Group's Guide to the World’s Leading Aviation Lawyers 2020

Professional Activities

Donald has been a long-time member of the Legal Affairs Committee of the Air Transport Association of Canada, the International Society of Transport Aircraft Trading (ISTAT), the Aerospace Industries Association of Canada (AIAC), the Canadian Business Aircraft Association, the Helicopter Association International (HAI), the Canadian Association of Defence and Security Industries (CADSI), the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) and the Seaplane Pilots Association. 

Donald was invited by Transport Canada Aviation to join the Canadian Aviation Regulation Advisory Council. He also acts as organizer and chair of the annual Canadian Airline Investment Conference held in Toronto each year. 

Donald serves on the board of the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) and The Gordon and Patricia Gray Foundation for Animal Welfare and is chair of the African Wildlife Foundation (Canada). 

He also served on the board of HeliNova Ltd., a joint venture between Canadian Helicopters Limited and PHI, Inc., to provide helicopter services to the offshore oil industry. 

Donald is a frequent writer and speaker on aircraft finance, both nationally and abroad.

Admitted to the Ontario Bar – 1984
LLB (with exchange program credits from Wayne State University in Detroit), University of Windsor – 1982
BA, University of Western Ontario – 1979
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