Operating in a highly regulated environment, clients look to Bell Nunnally’s experienced business aviation attorneys to navigate effective deal structures and compliance.
The Bell Nunnally business aviation team has deep experience with both the practical and technical issues facing aircraft owners, operators, brokers and adjacent service providers, including:
- Business aviation, including management, leasing and charter
- FAA/regulatory compliance (Part 91/Part 135)
- Tax issues
- Escrow disputes and litigation
- Insurance claims and defense
- Homeland Security/customs and border protection Issues
- Pre-buy inspections
In an industry where deals are highly regulated, we frequently represent clients with the purchase and sale of individual aircraft, as well as larger fleets. Our attorneys have negotiated and documented multimillion-dollar aircraft purchase agreements, many involving cross-border parties and often prone to complex regulatory and tax issues. Carefully analyzing the technical requirements related to ownership, international regulations and end use of the aircraft, we help clients record security interests via country-specific registries or the International Registry (IR) and analyze tax issues related to the aircraft’s end use.
Aviation Industry Litigation
Drawing on a deep well of cross-disciplinary resources, the Bell Nunnally team also defends aviation industry clients in regulatory investigations and represents them in private party litigation, including disputes arising from transactions where a dispute arises before and even after closing. We are experienced with domestic and international contract disputes and have represented brokers and agents who are owed commissions and parties in escrow disputes and interpleader actions. Knowing the industry well, we are often able to find practical solutions or negotiate favorable settlements when disputes arise, but we are also fully prepared to go to court and vigorously pursue our client’s interests when required.
Aircraft Manufacturer/Maintenance Facility Defense
After an aircraft is taken out of service to undergo maintenance or a component is removed for repair, strict FAA regulations govern the authorizations required for returning that aircraft to service. It is common for aircraft maintenance facilities and licensed airframe and powerplant (A&P) mechanics to perform inspections and repairs along the way to assist owners and operators in complying with airworthiness directives, maintenance requirements and inspections. Too often manufacturers are blamed for faulty equipment or maintenance providers become the target of a lawsuit accusing them of having knowledge of faulty components needing repair when the ultimate safety responsibility rests with the pilot in command. Experienced in understanding the nuanced distinctions between an aircraft’s airworthiness to return to service and a pilot’s obligation to confirm an aircraft’s airworthiness before each flight, Bell Nunnally’s aviation attorneys defend manufacturers and maintenance facilities from accusations of liability, including in cases that result in fatalities, which can be especially delicate to maneuver.