• Ann Arbor
    Ann Arbor
    201 S. Division Street
    Suite 400
    Ann Arbor, MI 48104
    T 734-761-3780
  • Cheboygan
    Cheboygan
    229 Court Street
    P.O. Box 405
    Cheboygan, MI 49721
    T 231-627-8000
  • Detroit
    Detroit
    1901 St. Antoine Street
    6th Floor at Ford Field
    Detroit, MI 48226
    T 313-259-7777
  • Grand Rapids
    Grand Rapids
    250 Monroe Avenue NW
    Suite 400
    Grand Rapids, MI 49503
    T 616-205-4330
  • Troy
    Troy
    201 W. Big Beaver Road
    Suite 500
    Troy, MI 48084
    T 248-743-6000
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competitive drive
 

Aviation Law and Finance

Soar to New Heights
Overview

The members of our multidisciplinary Aviation Law and Finance Practice Group represent owners and operators, aviation lenders, and aircraft service providers.

We also have years of experience advising a major fixed base operator and the governmental authority that manages one of the nation’s busiest commercial airports in a broad range of business, regulatory, and litigation matters.

We are particularly adept at helping corporations and high net worth individuals structure, document, and finance the purchase or lease of business and personal aircraft, including fractional interests.  We continue to represent these clients through the registration, operation, taxation, and eventual disposition of their significant aviation assets.

 

Services

Our services include:

  • Aircraft Purchases and Sales, including 1031 Exchanges and Fractional Interests

    We assist purchasers, sellers, lenders, and borrowers with the documentation and negotiation of applicable agreements and documents for whole aircraft as well as fractional interests. We have experience negotiating agreements with all of the major OEMs, including Gulfstream, Bombardier, Dassault, and Textron, as well as fractional interest providers such as NetJets and FlexJet.

  • Aircraft Ownership and Use
    When advising a client in the acquisition of an aircraft, we seek to understand the proposed use of the aircraft (whether business or personal) and structure its usage to comply with all FAA, DOT, and IRS rules and minimize the owner’s tax exposure. We advise our clients on dry leases, time share arrangements, joint ownership agreements, interchange arrangements, pilot services agreements, crew member agency agreements, and charter arrangements. We maintain relationships with various service providers, including insurers, accountants, inspectors, and a network of other professionals, and provide our clients with referrals to those professionals as needed. 
  • Aircraft Finance
    As Michigan’s most highly rated commercial lending law firm, Bodman attorneys have broad experience representing financial institutions in aircraft finance transactions. Our services include negotiating and documenting loans to finance the acquisition of aircraft and engines. We have particular experience with transactions involving fleet financing, fractional interests in helicopters and corporate jets, airlines, cargo carriers, medi-vac helicopter companies, and companies that buy and sell aircraft engines and engine parts. Members of our team have completed more than 200 aviation finance transactions originating in multiple U.S. states and Canada with an aggregate value of more than $350 million. We have also represented lenders in connection with credit facilities for commercial airlines, transactions involving 1031 exchanges, and syndicated credit facilities secured by aircraft.
  • Fixed Base Operators, Aircraft Charter Operators, and Aircraft Management Companies
    We have decades of experience representing a major fixed base operator and other aviation service providers in all general business legal issues and in maintaining compliance with FAA, DOT, and other regulations and other legal matters unique to aviation. We also assist service providers in collecting unpaid amounts from aircraft owners, whether through the filing of aircraft liens or litigation.
  • FAA and Cape Town Compliance
    Since the Convention on International Interests in Mobile Equipment (2001) first came into force in the U.S. on March 1, 2006, our attorneys have assisted corporations, lenders, and individuals with all aspects of the International Registry. Our services include setting up transacting user administrators, recording contracts of sale, international interests, prospective filings, assignments, and discharges of international interests.
  • Airport Operations
    Bodman attorneys have represented the operating authority of one of the nation’s largest commercial “hub” airports in a variety of matters including litigation, construction, labor and employment disputes, government investigations, environmental disputes, concessionaire contracts, and airport trademark use and protection.  As counsel to multiple municipal governments and related agencies, we have broad experience advising airports and other governmental clients on questions arising from the Freedom of Information Act, Open Meetings Act, and related areas.

 

Representative Matters

Representative experience includes:

Aviation Financing, Lender Representation

  • Agent Bank Facilitates Syndicated Financing Facility for National Medi-Vac Helicopter Company
    We represented an agent bank in a syndicated financing facility provided to a large national medi-vac helicopter company.
  • Lender Provides Loans to Cargo Carrier Company
    We represented the lender in a transaction providing revolving, term, and draw-to-term loans to a cargo carrier company with a fleet of aircraft and base locations throughout the United States.
  • Lender Finances the Building, Purchase, and Importation of a Dassault-Falcon 2000EX into Canada
    We represented a lender in a transaction financing the build, purchase, and import into Canada of a Dassault-Falcon 2000EX.
  • Lender Provides Financing to a Major Commercial Airline
    We represented a lender in a transaction providing financing to a major commercial airline.
  • Lender Provides Financing for Acquisition of Passenger Aircraft for Conversion to Cargo Aircraft
    We represented a lender in connection with financing for the acquisition of a passenger aircraft and conversion of the aircraft to a freighter.
  • Agent Bank Coordinates Syndicated Financing for Aircraft Company
    We represented the agent bank in a syndicated financing facility for a company that buys and sells aircraft, engines, and aircraft parts.

Private Aircraft Owner Representation

  • High-Net-Worth Individuals Acquire Aircraft

    In 2016, we represented multiple high-net-worth individuals in the purchase of new aircraft from Bombardier, Gulfstream and Dassault, as well as previously-owned aircraft from owners and brokers.  Representation included engaging aircraft brokers and inspection facilities, negotiating the purchase agreements, structuring the post-closing operations, obtaining insurance coverage, and working with the client’s accountants on tax issues.

  • Fixed-Base Operator Hires Bodman Aviation Lawyer as On-Site General Counsel
    A member of our Aviation Law team serves on-site as general counsel to a fixed base operator handling all day-to-day legal issues involving management and agency contracts, collections, RFP response preparation, and ongoing review of the client’s terms and conditions for compliance with Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) guidelines.
  • High-Net-Worth Individual Acquires Bombardier Challenger Aircraft
    We represented a high net worth individual in the private purchase of a Bombardier Challenger aircraft, including conducting all negotiations with the aircraft broker and inspection facilities, obtaining insurance coverage, and working with the client’s accountants on tax issues.
  • Clients Acquire Aircraft with Minimal Tax Liability and Risk, Full FAA Compliance
    We have designed creative aircraft ownership structures that minimize risk and tax liability for our clients while maintaining full compliance with Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations including 14 C.F.R. Parts 91, 135, and 380.

Airport/Airport Authority Representation

  • Airport Operating Authority Startup and Recognition by FAA
    We represented an airport operating authority in connection with its founding and recognition by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). We drafted the authority’s bylaws, procurement ordinance, and code of ethics.
  • Major Commercial Airport Wins Lawsuit Alleging Irregularities in Its Contracting Process
    We represented a major commercial airport in the successful defense of a U.S. District Court action by an unsuccessful bidder for a significant supply contract alleging irregularities in the airport’s contracting process.
  • Commercial Airport Obtains Dismissal In Lawsuit Challenging its Procurement Process Related to a$300 Million Construction Project
    We represented the same airport in a state court challenge to the procurement process in connection with the construction of a $300 million terminal, negotiating a dismissal of the suit on favorable terms.
  • Airport Authority Sued Under Americans with Disabilities Act for Violations in Airport Terminals and Parking Facilities
    We successfully represented an airport operating authority in a federal lawsuit alleging Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) violations in airport terminals and parking facilities.