soaring ahead

Over and Above


Dorsey's aviation practice serves a broad range of organizations in the industry. Our clients include Airlines, MROs, Manufacturing Firms, Engineering Firms, Banks, Investment Firms, and other entities.

Dorsey’s Aviation Group has a tremendous depth of transactional experience relevant to the industry, from sophisticated financings transactions to airplane purchases, leases, procurement, and other contracting issues.  

Dorsey's Aviation group has a proven track record of success when it comes to high stakes litigation. In addition to successfully defending against claims in the United States and Europe, Dorsey has recovered millions of dollars in damages on behalf of its airline clients.



In addition to negotiating lease agreements from the perspective of aircraft lessors, Dorsey has extensive experience representing airlines in connection with those agreements and has litigated the interpretation of various lease agreement provisions in United States Courts and under English law in the London Court of International Arbitration. Dorsey’s lessor clients therefore have the unique advantage of counsel who has been on the other side of the table and has a practical understanding of how arbitrators and courts have dealt with aircraft leasing and other related agreements. Representative matters include:

  • Representation of various lessors of a variety of executive and commuter aircraft involving the purchase and lease of Lear, British Aerospace, Fairchild and Sikorsky.
  • Negotiation of lease agreements for various Boeing and McDonnell Douglas aircraft to United Airlines, World Airways and others.
  • Representation a major airline in the sale-leaseback of various Boeing and McDonnell Douglas aircraft.
  • Establishment of a project for financing a series of leases of commuter aircraft to air taxi operators in Brazil.
  • Representation a major airline on two sets of guaranties of leases to Sun Country Airlines.
  • Representation a major European airline in negotiating its passenger terminal leases at JFK and Newark and its cargo lease at LAX.


Dorsey’s Aviation group deals with complex aircraft financing, purchase, and procurement transactions. The group has extensively assisted clients with complex cross-border aircraft and Islamic finance transactions. Representative matters include:

  • Represented a major airline on $288 million taxable general obligation revenue refunding bonds.
  • Represented the arrangers in connection with a $263 million Export-Import Bank-guaranteed financing for nine Boeing 737 aircraft. The transaction was the largest commercial aircraft financing in Eastern Europe and the first commercial paper-backed commercial aircraft financing.
  • Represented a French airline in sale/leaseback of Airbus aircraft.
  • Represented Wells Fargo as trustee in connection with the Export-Import Bank guaranteed financing for sale of several Boeing 737 aircraft to China Southern Airlines and financing for Aerolineas Argentinas.


Dorsey has represented airline clients and aircraft maintenance organizations in connection with all aspects of aircraft leasing disputes, including with litigation that has arisen in the context of deliveries and redeliveries. We have litigated matters involving entitlement to deposits and release of maintenance rents, as well as matters involving condition of engines, airframes and various other aircraft components. We have experience with most of the largest aircraft lessors and are familiar with their forms of lease agreements. We also have experience in dealing with issues related to PBH Agreements and other third-party relationships that are essential to our airline industry clients. 

We are well-versed with concepts that impact those in the industry, including top-up contributions, maintenance rents, utilization rates, performance restorations, EASA vs. FAA certifications, etc. We also have access to specialized experts in the industry who are able to address both technical and commercial issues when required to support our legal positions.


Dorsey provides general corporate law services to a wide range of aviation and airline clients. Some of these services include:

  • Formation
  • Corporate governance and compliance
  • Contract drafting and review
  • Licensing issues
  • Export controls
  • Executive compensation
  • Mergers and acquisitions
  • Capital markets
  • Securities compliance

Industries & Practices

  • Commercial Litigation
  • Corporate Governance & Compliance
  • Foreign Banks and Financial Institutions
  • Lending Transactions
  • National Security Law