Airfinance Journal Recognizes K&L Gates as a Top Law Firm in 2023 Legal Survey and Winner of Multiple Deal of the Year Awards

5 Agustus 2023

Global law firm K&L Gates LLP has again been ranked among the very top law firms in Airfinance Journal’s 2023 Legal Survey, with the firm being recognized for the sixth year in a row as the most active law firm for structured lease transactions, as well as the second most active firm for transactions involving the sales and purchases of aircraft, based on deal volume in 2022.

The 2023 Survey also lists K&L Gates as the second most active law firm in Europe and the fourth most active law firm in the Asia Pacific based on 2022 deal volumes. The firm is listed as the third most active law firm globally.

Additionally, the firm’s aviation practice was recognized for advising on three matters honored as Deals of the Year during the Airfinance Journal Awards 2022. These were:

  • ICBC Financial Leasing US$112m JOLCO for Three A320neos (Editor Tax Lease Deal of the Year Asia 2022): A cross-border team of K&L Gates lawyers from the US, Tokyo, and London offices advised JP Lease Products & Services in closing a Japanese Operating Lease with Call Option (JOLCO) financing of three Airbus A320 aircraft with ICBC Financial Leasing as Intermediate Lessee. This was the first JOLCO of its kind in the US market, with the deal structured by K&L Gates and Gilchrist Aviation (acting as FAA Counsel) utilizing the US Owner Trust structure.
  • Hong Kong Airlines US$6.2bn Lease Restructuring (Asia-Pacific Deal of the Year 2022): A cross-border team of K&L Gates lawyers from the Hong Kong, London, and Sydney offices advised Hong Kong International Aviation Leasing Limited, the single largest creditor lessor to Hong Kong Airlines with 28 aircraft on lease. The restructuring of the airline took the form of a concurrent scheme of arrangement in Hong Kong and a restructuring plan in England sanctioned by the respective court, which restructured approximately US$6.2billion of debt alongside a new equity investment of HK$3 billion.
  • Acia Aero Leasing US$59m Revolving Credit Facility for 14 Aircraft (Revolving Credit Facility Deal of the Year 2022): A team of K&L Gates lawyers from the London office advised Acia Aero Leasing on their new revolving credit facility with Investec with a blind pool of assets in various jurisdictions to support the continued growth of Acia’s portfolio and assisted them secure 14 aircraft.

The winning deals for the Awards were selected by a judging panel of senior aviation finance executives from the airline, finance, legal, and manufacturing sectors, and were announced in June 2023.

“We are honored that Airfinance Journal and market leaders continue to acknowledge K&L Gates as a top law firm and trusted adviser in the Legal Survey and at the annual Awards,” said Robert Melson, a partner in the Tokyo office and a leader of K&L Gates’ global aviation finance practice. “We continue to invest in bolstering our practice and capabilities, with an eye to maintaining a first-in-class team of lawyers who can assist diverse clients with a broad range of issues, wherever their needs may arise, especially as the aviation industry continues to heat up now that COVID is in the rear view mirror.”

K&L Gates’ aviation finance practice represents financial institutions and leasing companies around the globe in connection with aircraft finance and leasing transactions, including the structuring, documenting, and negotiating of aircraft finance transactions and cross-border transactions involving multiple jurisdictions. The team works closely with their colleagues in the tax, regulatory, and litigation support practice groups in order to advise and assist financial institutions, leasing companies, and airlines on a variety of aviation matters.