skip to main content
Experience List
  • Email Page
  • Create PDF
  • Print Page


For decades our law firm has been a leading service provider to airlines, aircraft lenders and lessors, operators of corporate and commercial aircraft and aircraft-related suppliers. Our work in the aircraft sector complements our historical strength in banking and commercial finance. Companies from Asia, Europe, North America and the Middle East trust Davis Wright Tremaine with some of their most complex and challenging matters. We work with our clients on matters involving the negotiation of purchase agreements, pre-delivery financing (PDP), delivery financing, delivery of aircraft, leases, management agreements, pilot agreements, supplier agreements, repair and refurbishment agreements, tax, labor and employment.

Aircraft finance

  • Pre-delivery finance: Represent airlines, commercial banks and nonbank financial institutions in connection with loans secured by either U.S.- or non-U.S.-registered aircraft
  • Delivery finance: Represent parties on transactions involving loans secured by individual aircraft, including airframe warranties and engine warranties assignments
  • Leveraged leases: Represent the equity participants in leverage leases of aircraft
  • Tax exempt: Represent banks and lenders in tax-exempt leases of aircraft to federal, state and local governments and to nonprofit 501(c)(3) emergency flight providers

Commercial aircraft agreements and services

  • Acquisitions and sales: Represent foreign airlines in connection with commercial law analysis of Aircraft General Terms Agreements (AGTA), Purchase Agreements, warranties and remedies for the purchase and delivery of commercial and commuter aircraft. We also represented the French government in its acquisition of several AWACS reconnaissance aircraft from Boeing
  • Delivery: We regularly attend deliveries of Boeing aircraft—over 600 such deliveries to date-- on behalf of foreign purchasers Local law matters: Represent foreign airlines, lessors and lenders regarding the enforceability or effectiveness of various purchase and delivery documents under Washington State law and the effectiveness of liens on aircraft collateral under Washington and U.S. federal law
  • Delivery opinions: Regularly retained by foreign airlines, lessors and lenders to render Washington State and U.S. federal law legal opinions in connection with the delivery of aircraft in Washington State or progress payments

Corporate aircraft agreements and services

  • New aircraft acquisitions and sales: Represent purchasers and sellers of corporate aircraft to domestic and foreign sellers and purchasers
  • New aircraft acquisitions: Represent purchasers of new corporate aircraft, including fixed-wing and rotary aircraft
  • Aircraft operations: Represent aircraft owners and managers in negotiating aircraft management agreements, pilot services agreements, joint ownership agreements and hangar agreements
  • Aircraft leasing: Represent aircraft owners and operators in negotiating short and long term leases and time sharing agreements Represent commercial lessors in corporate aircraft true lease, synthetic lease and conditional sale transactions
  • Represent banks and commercial lenders in aircraft secured financing, assignments of maintenance program agreements, assignments of leases and management agreements
  • Represent banks and commercial lenders in financing fractional interests in aircraft

Supplier agreements

  • Represent domestic airline in negotiation of a master services agreement for reservations systems and other software systems with Sabre Inc.
  • Represent UAE airline on development agreement for In-Flight Entertainment (IFE) system
  •  Represent U.S. manufacturer with respect to Subcontracted Products Built to Boeing’s Detailed Design and Special Business Provisions (SBP)
  • Represent aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul company (MRO) in connection with supply chain and procurement agreements with parts and component manufacturers, subcontractors and service providers

Repair and refurbishment agreements

  • Represent aircraft MRO in connection with maintenance services agreements with commercial and government customers
  • Represent aircraft MRO in connection with bid processes for federal government contracts

Labor, employment and benefits

  • Represent airlines in labor contract negotiations, arbitrations and related labor matters. Provide employment counseling and litigation defense, including disputes related to wrongful discharge, discrimination and regulatory compliance. Advise airlines and related industry clients on employee benefit plan design and administration. With approximately 70 lawyers in offices across the country, our labor and employment practice is one of the strongest among the country’s full-service law firms. We understand the unique employment issues inherent in a highly-regulated, safety-focused, industry.

Federal and state taxation

  • Entity formation: Represent owners in connection with the formation of aircraft-owning entities and structuring of corporate aircraft operations
  • Like-kind exchanges: Advise purchasers and sellers in connection with like-kind exchanges under Section 1031 of the Internal Revenue Code
  • Sale, use and gross receipt taxes: Advise sellers, purchasers, lessors, lessees, and owners and operators of aircraft in connection with a wide range of state sales, use and gross receipt tax matters (including their interface with exemptions under the United States Constitution) and represent them before the Washington Department of Revenue with respect to rulings and protests