Aviation litigation and regulation

Our team of highly talented aviation litigators bring to the table a genuine in-depth knowledge and understanding of the aviation industry, which, when combined with a practical hands-on approach, and high levels of legal expertise, enables us to deliver the commercial outcome our clients are looking for, effectively and cost efficiently.

Visit our aviation hub.
  • Profile
  • Experience
  • Key contacts

In our team, we have decades of accumulated experience acting for:

  • airlines
  • lessors
  • financiers and the major transportation banks
  • insurers
  • maintenance repair and overhaul organisations
  • airports
  • airline associations.

This experience means our aviation litigation lawyers have a 360 degree understanding of how the aviation industry works, and can leverage that knowledge and experience to the benefit of clients without any re-invention of wheels or cost inefficiencies.

Our approach is driven by listening to our clients’ commercial objectives, making sure we understand what it is they want to achieve, within what timeframe, at what cost, and resourcing the job with the right team.

Our aviation litigation team is regarded by the legal directories as one of the leading teams in the UK. We have dealt with all types of disputes, in English and foreign courts, and in domestic and foreign international arbitration proceedings, ranging from redelivery disputes and repossessions to commercial disputes with third party suppliers and major accidents and incidents. We are also regularly called upon to give advice on regulatory issues affecting airlines, including by way of example EC 261 claims, state aid, competition, foreign ownership rules, and EU blacklisting.

"Stephenson Harwood stands out as a firm specialised in aviation and one of the top firms in London."
Chambers UK 2022

Covid-19 and sanctions

Advising a number of airlines and lessors on payment and other events of default, payment deferrals, lease extensions, restructuring of lease terms, grounding notices, repossession options and lease termination and enforcement.

Redelivery disputes

Acted for numerous lessors and airlines in redelivery disputes litigated in the High Court in London and in international arbitrations involving return conditions of both engines and airframes, maintenance reserves, LLP values, qualification of shop visits, ”fair wear and tear” exceptions, back to birth traceability of records, engine thrust upgrades etc.

Compliance

Advised on compliance with various EU Regulations, and equivalent retained legislation in the UK post-Brexit, including ETS, EC Reg 1008/2008, the PRM Regulation, state aid, consumer protection legislation, competition cartel and alliance issues, price fixing investigations, disputes with airports, slots advice and transfers, EU blacklist work and regulatory safety compliance, ground handling disputes.

Airline regulation

Advised on numerous regulatory issues including judicial reviews of the UK Government's 'traffic light' system and of the CAA's amendment of ACP 1324 (policy for ADR applicants and approved ADR entities), as well as EC 261 claims at appeal level, including acting for Ryanair in the enforcement action brought by the CAA in relation to delays suffered as a result of crew strikes in the summer of 2018. We have also advised major European airlines on issues relating to Part-145 and Part CAMO.

Accident and major air disaster investigations

Acted on numerous accident investigations, major air disasters-including the Lockerbie investigation and trial, and other high profile accidents and incidents.

Suppliers and manufacturers disputes

Acted in commercial disputes for airlines against all manner of suppliers, OEMs and manufacturers.

Restructuring and insolvency

Acted for both lessors and airlines on repossessions, restructuring and insolvency disputes.

Late aircraft redelivery

Acted in the landmark Commercial Court case of Pindell and BBAM v Air Asia concerning claims brought by lessor for the loss of an onward sale contract arising from the late redelivery of the aircraft.

Deep vein thrombosis litigation

Acted for airlines in the worldwide deep vein thrombosis litigation brought by claimants in the UK, US and Australia.

Latest news & insights

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20 Jul 2023

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Aviation team attend IAWA European Leadership Forum

Rupali Sharma and Lucy Moseley of the aviation litigation and regulation team attended the IAWA European Leadership Forum in Amsterdam on 22 to 23 June.

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17 Jul 2023

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06 Jun 2023

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07 Mar 2023

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30 Jan 2023

From Insights

Aviation regulatory update 2022/2023

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25 Nov 2022

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08 Aug 2022

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04 May 2022

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15 Nov 2021

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18 Jan 2021

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The UK / EU trade deal: Aviation

On 22 December 2020, and ahead of the end of the transition period on 30 December 2020, we published a note on the consequences of Brexit for the aviation industry. At..

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15 Jan 2021

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Aviation liability 2021

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22 Dec 2020

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Brexit has landed

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14 Oct 2020

From Insights

Stephenson Harwood aviation litigation lawyers contribute to seminal Covid-19 publication

Stephenson Harwood commercial litigation associates Johnny Champion, Rupali Sharma and Patrick Bettle, with support from partner Paul Phillips, have contributed to a s..

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