soaring ahead

Over and Above


Dorsey's aviation practice focuses on representing airlines and other aviation industry clients in connection with high stakes litigation and transactional matters.

Dorsey’s aviation group has a tremendous depth of transactional experience relevant to the airline industry, including with aircraft purchase agreements, maintenance and services contracts, and other matters.

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 aviation clients in connection with aircraft leasing and engine condition disputes.


Aircraft Purchase Agreements

Dorsey represents airlines and leasing companies in connection with Boeing purchase agreements and related agreements governed by Washington law. Representative matters include:

  • Representation of multiple airlines in connection with delivery delay and warranty issues relating to the 737 MAX aircraft;
  • Representation of UK airline in connection with delivery delay and performance guarantee issues relating to the 787 aircraft; and
  • Delivery of legal opinions relating to issues of title transfer and tax matters to multiple airlines and leasing companies in connection with their acquisitions of Boeing aircraft.

Maintenance, Services and Supply Agreements

Dorsey has extensive experience representing airlines in connection with their aircraft and component maintenance services agreements and related aircraft support agreements. Dorsey also has extensive experience representing aerospace manufacturers in negotiation of terms with original equipment manufacturers and suppliers. Representative matters include:

  • Representation of leading U.S. airline in acquisition of 400 A321 aircraft engines and long-term maintenance services program with Pratt & Whitney;
  • Representation of leading European airline group in connection with entry into component services program with Boeing;
  • Representation of leading U.S. airline in negotiation of 200+ maintenance services agreements, general terms agreements, professional services agreements, statements of work, licensing agreements and other similar commercial agreements;
  • Representation of U.S.-based manufacturer of electrical components in negotiation of general terms agreement and special business provisions with Boeing; and
  • Represented manufacturer of composite aircraft components in entry into supply agreement with Airbus.


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’s aviation group 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.

Dorsey’s aviation group has also handled commercial disputes involving airline vendors, including maintenance repair organizations, parts suppliers, software vendors and others. Our aviation lawyers are well-versed with the unique contractual arrangements that are utilized by our airline clients, including, for example, Power by the Hour Agreements.

Our aviation group has extensively litigated matters involving the condition of aircrafts and aircraft components, including engines, auxiliary power units, airframe and other aircraft parts and equipment. 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.

In addition to handling complex commercial disputes with our airline client lessors and vendors, our aviation group has also handled passenger disputes, including disputes related to airline rewards programs, litigation arising from refusal to board passengers and disputes involving airline ticket terms and conditions. Our aviation lawyers have experience with the relevant federal statutes and preemption principles that apply in the context of airline passenger litigation, including the Airline Deregulation Act, the Federal Aviation Act, and the Montreal Convention.

Industries & Practices

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