Restructuring and insolvency

Our restructuring and insolvency (R&I) team advises on all issues arising in connection with corporate distress and insolvency, and has significant expertise in the airline sector. The team works closely with insolvency practitioners, who have acted as administrators, receivers or liquidators of airlines, and also works closely with specialist accountancy teams and consultants who work day in and day out in the airline sector, to deliver practical solutions.

Working in conjunction with our corporate and dispute resolution teams, our R&I team will look at refinancing or disposals of aircraft and assets, the pursuit of claims, and also acts for lenders, major transportation banks and lessors on the recovery, repossession and remarketing of aircraft. In recent years, the R&I and disputes teams have acted on the collapse of more than ten airlines.

Advising aircraft owners, lessors and financiers

Examples of our experience advising aircraft owners, lessors and financiers on R&I issues include:

  • Advised an internationally leading lessor in various aircraft repossessions and restructuring of airlines involving more than 50 aircraft in total in multiple jurisdictions across Asia Pacific region including Malaysia, Australia, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Nepal, the Philippines, Singapore, Cyprus, PRC, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam.
  • Advised a US operating lessor on matters relating to the restructuring of Virgin Atlantic, the first restructuring undertaken pursuant to the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2020.
  • Advised a leading PRC lessor on both Hong Kong and English law issues relating to the restructuring of Hong Kong Airlines, the first dual track restructuring involving a Hong Kong Scheme of Arrangement and UK Restructuring Plan.
  • Advised various aircraft lessors in respect of several airline restructurings including Thai Airways, Garuda, AirAsia, MAB Leasing, and Flybe, and insolvency of Thomas Cook.

Advising administrators and receivers

Examples of our experience advising administrators and receivers on R&I issues in the aviation industry include:

  • Advised Ernst & Young in their capacity as administrators of Flybe, dealing, in particular, with the fleet issues including negotiating with the numerous lessors and financiers in respect of the servicing, maintenance and ultimate return of all leased and financed aircraft and engines.
  • Advised the manager of an international group specializing in spare parts logistics for the aviation industry in multiple lawsuits following the opening of liquidation proceedings against the group’s holding before the French Courts.
  • Advised the trustee in bankruptcy on its contractual rights following the bankruptcy of AS Estonia Air.
  • Advised fixed charge receivers of a private aircraft on their appointment and subsequent sale of the aircraft.

Advising airlines and operators

Examples of our experience advising airlines and operators on R&I issues include:

  • Advised Singapore-based Transportation Partners on the restructuring of the Indonesian airline group, Lion Air, over a period of 18 months in a project that involved over 200 aircraft and around 50 lessor groups, including the first successful application under the Cross Border Insolvency Regulations 2006 for recognition of French conciliation proceedings.
  • Advised a South African based aircraft operator, following the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, on the potential impact of a South African business rescue process on its lease arrangements, including advice on cross border recognition in the UK and the applicability of the Cape Town Convention.
  • Advised a major group of European airlines in its project to acquire in a pre-insolvency and then in an insolvency process some of the assets of a distressed French airline.
  • Advised and acted for Malindo Air on the restructuring of the financing and leasing of its entire portfolio of 46 aircraft following regulatory changes in Labuan.



Ian Benjamin
Ian Benjamin Partner Restructuring & Insolvency T: +44 20 7809 2286 M: +44 7921 472 238
Email Ian Benjamin | Vcard Office London
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Tim Crocker
Tim Crocker Partner Restructuring & Insolvency T: +44 20 7809 2797
Email Tim Crocker | Vcard Office London
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All team members