Aviation and aerospace

…Very, very good – sensible, unflappable, responsive to industry and very knowledgeable.

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Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 1926 - 2022

The aviation industry has faced huge and contrasting pressures in recent years - from the turmoil of the global pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, followed by an array of consequent sanctions, to lengthy contractual disputes arising from supply chain disruption and the demands of increasing ESG regulatory issues.

At Penningtons Manches Cooper, our aviation lawyers act across a wide range of matters for insurers, assureds, manufacturers, service providers, leasing companies and operators, providing specialist advice and significant experience in all aspects of aviation and aerospace law. Recognised as a leader in aviation insurance matters, we have an extensive track record in insurance and re-insurance coverage disputes on high value and complex multi-jurisdictional claims. We are particularly well placed to act for clients based in different jurisdictions and insured through the London market.

Our dedicated team has the strength and depth of expertise to advise on some of the largest and most significant pieces of insurance litigation. Following the introduction of UK, EU and US sanctions and embargoes against Russia and its entities in response to the military action in Ukraine in 2022, our team has advised on substantial claims arising. This is one of the largest insurance litigation matters currently in the English courts, both in terms of the scale and magnitude of aggregate claims. 

We are expertly placed to advise on all types of claims relating to hull, war risks and third party liability coverage. Our disputes work encompasses policies relating to lessors’ operator aviation policies and we are regularly involved in arbitrations arising from insurance and reinsurance disputes, including dealing with insurer arbitration clauses. We also have specialist expertise in handling coverage and claims investigations, and resolving disputes over satellite and aerospace technology. 

Drawing on resources across our UK and international team, our practice is recognised as a legal authority in both civil and military aviation disputes. We have acted on a variety of cases relating to aircraft fit out disputes and ground safety matters and were one of the lead advisers on the Shoreham Air Show Crash.  We have extensive experience of dealing with the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB).

Increasingly we are being asked to deal with a range of employment matters in the aviation sector including airline cabin crew duties and vaccination policies following Covid-19. Other areas of focus for our lawyers include the impact of the Civil Aviation (Working Time) Regulations on cabin crew, UK employment and industrial relations issues, substantive collective agreements and complex disability discrimination claims. 

We offer expert advice on:

  • insurance and re-insurance coverage disputes across all policies, including those linked to aircraft manufacture and space systems, satellite and aerospace coverage, and subrogation claims
  • maintenance disputes including breach of contract, debts, defective products, refits and product liability
  • policyholder and contractual disputes
  • property and cargo claims/disputes
  • satellite and aerospace coverage
  • insolvency and asset recovery
  • aviation catastrophe work and the AAIB
  • airport security systems
  • regulatory issues and risk management
  • damage to third party property
  • seat sale agreements and charter agreements
  • employment claims /crew claims and industrial disputes

Recent work highlights

Ukraine war insurance losses

Advising insurers on multi-billion dollar alleged losses of aircraft following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Detention of passenger aircraft

Acting for a finance party in relation to a claim for the loss of a US$18.5 million Gulfstream G450 passenger aircraft detained by the Russian authorities for purported customs violations.

Successful ruling in complex international dispute

Obtaining a favourable judgment in a high-profile, complex international aviation matter worth over US$1 billion involving substantial disputes as to jurisdiction as well as complicated foreign law and novel issues arising.

See more detailed case studies

Related expertise

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales with registered number OC311575 and is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority under number 419867.

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP