Finance and leasing

We advise leasing companies, lenders and a small, select group of leading airlines on a wide range of financing and leasing matters.

We have a particularly strong reputation in the market across the following areas:

  • Operating leasing
  • Purchase and leasebacks
  • Aircraft asset trading
  • Passenger to freighter conversions
  • Lease and beneficial interest transfers
  • Structured finance products, including finance leasing, Japanese operating leasing and pre-delivery payment financing.


Operating leasing

Ranked as the leading law firm in Air Finance Journal's 2023 Legal Survey for aircraft operating leases, we are consistently recognised by the industry press, legal directories and aviation colleagues as having one of the very best global offerings in this key area of the aviation finance market.

We advise leasing companies, asset managers and a small number of strategically important airline clients on operating leases. In 2023 alone, we worked on the leasing and delivery of over 100 aircraft and engine assets.

While our practice is focussed on supporting the leasing community, working closely alongside airline customers affords us valuable insight into the key drivers for successful operators and allows us to better service our lessor clients by offering broad market insight and solutions to airline issues as they develop. Our experience in this regard sets us apart from many of our peers.

  • Advised on the purchase, passenger-to-freighter conversion and subsequent leasing of 10 Airbus A330 aircraft to a prominent American operator.
  • Advised on the leasing of 3 Boeing 737 Max aircraft into different Scandinavian operators. The aircraft were part of a distressed portfolio purchase, so particular focus was given to the delivery and return conditions under the leases.
  • Advised the purchase of 1 Airbus A350 from receivership and its onward leasing to an Asian operator. This involved working closely alongside the receivers, the prior owner and the onward lessee to ensure a smooth delivery in the required condition.
  • Advised on the leasing of 8 Airbus A330 and A330F aircraft to Central American and European operators.
  • Advised on the redelivery of 2 mid-life Boeing 737 aircraft from a leasing Asian operator and onward leasing into a new Australasian operator.
  • Advised on the leasing of 4 Airbus A320N aircraft into a Latin American operator.
  • Advised on the leasing and delivery of over 50 Airbus aircraft and spare CFM engines for a leasing Asian operator.
  • Advised on the leasing and delivery of several used Airbus aircraft for a leading Asian operator with multiple leasing company counterparties.

Purchase and leasebacks

Alongside our market-leading operating lease practice, we are also extremely active in the purchase and leaseback (PLB) market.

We advise leasing companies, asset managers and a small number of strategically important airline clients on the purchase (or sale) or aircraft assets from the airlines order book positions.  We also act for financiers involved in supporting the purchase of those assets.

The PLB market has been particularly buoyant in recent times for new and used aircraft in reaction to both tightening OEM supply chains and pressure on airlines to raise cash reserves through asset disposals.

We have worked closely with leasing companies, airlines and OEMs, using innovative legal technology solutions, to deliver well over 50 new aircraft and engine assets in 2023 alone.

  • Advised on the pre-delivery payment financing, purchase and leasing of 4 A320neo aircraft with a Latin American operator. The operator moved into insolvency proceedings immediately prior to ex-factory delivery and we worked closely with our leasing company client and the OEM to enforce security under the financing, exercise step-in rights and take delivery of the aircraft for onward leasing to a third-party operator.
  • Advised on the leasing of 6 white-tail Boeing 737 Max aircraft into a leading Asian flag carrier. This transaction was the operator's first investment in the Boeing 737 Max and was negotiated on an expedited timeframe.
  • Advised on the sale and leaseback of 30 CFM spare engines and on the delivery of a further 21 CFM spare engines for a leading Asian airline. These deals involved significant papering and transaction management and required the use of innovative legal technology solutions to drive efficiencies and meet challenging delivery deadlines.
  • Advised on the sale and leaseback of 20 A320neo family aircraft for a leading Asian airline with one of the world's largest leasing companies.
  • Advised on the sale and leaseback of 4 A320neo family aircraft and 3 ATR aircraft for a leading Asian airline. This transaction was the leasing company's first purchase of an Airbus aircraft and required a collaborative and commercial approach to reach financial close.

Aircraft trading

We work closely with our leasing company and asset manager clients on the trading of aircraft assets, whether involving true sales or purchase on arms-length terms with third parties or to facilitate refinancing or restructuring efforts within the same or related corporate groups.

We have substantial experience of the sale, lease transfer and refinancing process on both small-scale asset transfers and larger complex multi-jurisdictional asset transactions. We work closely, where necessary, with specialist teams across our own network or with tried and tested local lawyers to conclude those transactions as promptly and efficiently as possible.

We have seen a great deal of secondary market trading activity through 2023 and into 2024 and have been involved in a significant number of naked and leased aircraft asset transfers.

  • Advised on the portfolio sale and outbound transfer of 37 Boeing and Airbus aircraft on lease to 15 airlines. This transaction involved significant project management and a deep understanding of cross-border legal and administrative considerations to close.
  • Advised on the acquisition of 23 A330 aircraft from a GCC airline. We also advised on the subsequent passenger-to-freighter conversion and onward leasing of a number of these aircraft.
  • Advised on the acquisition of 4 white-tail A330 aircraft from Airbus. This required a good understanding of OEM negotiating positions compared to those of a lessor or airline counterparty.
  • Advised on the naked sale of 7 mid to end-of-life aircraft to a third-party asset manager for part-out.
  • Advised on the purchase of the beneficial interest in 2 A220 aircraft on lease to a European operator. This was our client's first investment in A220 aircraft and its first involvement with the lessee.
  • Advised on Asian airline group on the aircraft portfolio transfer of over 40 Boeing 737 aircraft and Airbus A330 aircraft leases between airlines within the operating airline subsidiaries.
  • Advised an Asian operator on the novation of over 30 aircraft and engine leases through 2023 with multiple leasing company counterparties.