(London) Leading law firm Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP announced the expansion of its Aviation Finance team to its London office.
The firm’s Aviation Finance practice is already well-established in the United States, with lawyers steeped in the aviation industry, advising a wide range of clients including leasing companies, financial institutions, equity investors, manufacturers, and users of business aircraft, in the leasing, trading, financing, and ownership of commercial and business aircraft as well as related tax, regulatory, insurance and bankruptcy and workout matters.
Katten partner Chris Harrison, who recently joined the firm’s London office, leads the London aviation team.
“We are pleased to officially kick off our dedicated aviation finance team in London”, said Washington, DC-based Katten Aviation Finance practice chair Timothy Lynes. “Although the practice group’s U.S. lawyers already regularly consult with their colleagues in London on a wide variety of English law issues, Chris and his colleagues bring a new dimension and depth to the practice, and we are very pleased to have such an aircraft finance veteran as Chris at the forefront of this initiative.”
Harrison has many years of experience representing lenders, leasing companies, equity investors and airlines in leasing, portfolio trading, secured lending and capital markets transactions involving commercial aircraft, as well as in airport financing.
The new team will benefit from the broad experience of London tax partner --and former aircraft commercial banker --Charlotte Sallabank, who has advised European banks and airlines on structuring tax-advantaged lease financings of aircraft and engines, including “double dips” with the United States, Germany, Japan and Norway. Other team members in London include senior associate Katya Harrison; associates Victoria Sinton, Alex Taylor, and James Gledhill; and paralegals Nicole Akinyemi and Maxime Chevot.
The team is assisted in London in aviation insolvency, restructuring and litigation matters by Katten Litigation partner Joe Payne and Private Credit partner Kumar Tewari, as well as associates Georgina Vale and Dominique Hodgson. Payne’s recent aviation experience includes advising aircraft lessors in the insolvency of a British airline and in disputes in regard to aircraft purchase agreements. Tewari currently represents the indenture trustee in the restructuring of EUR 1.15 billion in corporate notes issued by a large airline and tour company.
Establishment of the London aviation team follows the addition of New York Capital Markets partner Tim Kirby to the Aviation Finance group in July. Kirby has represented the underwriters in many ABS, pass through certificate, unsecured note, and term loan transactions, with security including aircraft, mileage programs, and slots/gates/routes.
Katten’s Aviation Finance practice also works closely with the firm’s Insolvency and Restructuring Department, where recent aviation engagements include leading a team of insolvency, litigation, corporate, finance and aircraft-finance attorneys in advising the independent directors in two separate out-of-court restructurings of airline-industry companies.
Additionally, the Aviation Finance group is assisted for loan portfolio sales and purchases, term securitizations, warehouses, CLOs, and other financing arrangements by Katten’s Structured Finance and Securitization practice. That team regularly represents a rating agency in analyzing aircraft ABS and EETC issuances.
The Aviation Finance group also is assisted for the acquisition and sale of distressed foreign and domestic bank loans and bankruptcy claims, as well as funds formation and regulatory advice, by Katten’s Financial Markets and Funds practice. Members of that team recently have handled many claims trades in the ongoing bankruptcies of several non-US airlines.
“It is a privilege to be taking on the role of leading the London office’s aviation finance team,” Harrison said. “Formally establishing a dedicated team here demonstrates Katten’s ongoing commitment to enhance its client-service capabilities.”