Aviation


McGrath North has a diverse aviation practice advising clients on a broad range of aviation law matters.

The aviation practice attorneys handle complex aviation transactions, including aircraft acquisition and sales, financing and leasing transactions, and operational issues. The firm’s extensive experience in aviation matters extends to the interaction of Federal Aviation Administration and Internal Revenue Service considerations of aircraft acquisition, operation and leasing, including joint ownership structures, fractional ownership structures, leasing and interchange agreements. McGrath North also counsels clients on federal and state tax issues relating to aviation, including like-kind exchanges of aircraft, state sales and use tax matters, and federal excise tax issues. We frequently assist clients in negotiating the acquisition of new aircraft, previously owned aircraft and undivided interests in aircraft under programs such as NetJets, Flexjet, Flight Options, Delta AirElite and Jet Linx.

The attorneys at McGrath North represent a broad spectrum of clients who are subject to the operational and safety regulations administered by the Federal Aviation Administration as well as the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security, including aircraft and airport requirements, environmental impact and noise restrictions and airport operations. We are well versed in the complicated legal, regulatory, financing and contractual issues faced by airport operators as well as aircraft operators. We have experience in all phases of the regulatory scheme whether it relates to airport operators and the handling of airline use and lease agreements, rates and charges issues, concessions, financing of airport development projects and construction contracting issues or whether it relates to aircraft operators and the handling of Federal Aviation Administration regulatory compliance issues or flight and base operation safety audits.

McGrath North also handles claims and litigation lodged against airport operators, airlines, aircraft operators and power plant and component part manufacturers of general aviation aircraft. Our firm has developed a reputation for aggressive, efficient defense of claims against all segments of the industry.

Representative Projects

  • Represented clients purchasing and selling fractional shares of aircraft with all of the major fractional programs, including loan and lease documents, like-kind exchanges, and dispute resolution with respect to resale value of fractional shares.
  • Represented various companies in complex ownership and operating structures for aircraft with multiple owners.
  • Consulted with large and small companies in establishing commercial contracts for, and providing regulatory advice on, aircraft ownership and operational issues, including purchase and lease of hangars, management and crew arrangements, storage and maintenance, and aircraft modification.
  • Advised on all legal and tax aspects of buying, selling, and financing aircraft including drafting and negotiating letters of intent and purchase agreements; advising on tax issues including 1031 like-kind exchanges (both forward and reverse exchanges), depreciation, and state sales and use tax planning; and establishing owner trusts for U.S. registered foreign-owned aircraft.
  • Provided FAA regulatory advice to structure operations to comply with FARs while allowing for aircraft use by related companies and entities through dry leases, interchange agreements, and time-sharing arrangements.
  • Negotiated agreements with charter management companies and advised aircraft owners regarding FAA’s policies on “wet leasing” aircraft for charter.
  • Represented aircraft owners in state tax audits regarding sales and use tax, and county property taxes.
  • Advised public and private companies on personal use of company aircraft, and related income recognition, deduction limitation and SEC disclosure issues.
  • Drafted corporate aircraft use policies to cover personal use, carriage of political candidates, SEC reporting and related matters.
  • Represented the Omaha Airport Authority for more than 25 years as its outside general counsel, handling matters involving Federal Aviation Administration regulatory issues; Transportation Security Administration security installation and continuing contract and regulatory issues; Part 91 and Part 135 operator contracts and leases; Environmental Protection Agency regulatory matters and Section 4(f) issues; and constitutional issues relating to speech and search and seizure matters.
  • Represented other Nebraska airport authorities and airport operators in contract matters with fixed base operators.
  • Represented various aviation underwriters defending aircraft accident product liability and negligence claims, agricultural pilot accidents and overspray cases.
  • Represented Part 91 operators in fleet claims against manufacturers.
  • Represented Part 135 operators in claims against fixed base operators.
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