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Aviation Disputes

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CMS’s aviation team has broad experience of advising clients across the aviation industry on large-scale commercial litigation and arbitration, aircraft repossession, cross-border aviation liability, hull claims and (re)insurance policy coverage. We act for a broad spectrum of aircraft owners, operators and manufacturers, engine and components manufacturers, as well as airport authorities and ground handlers.

Our experienced team has a deep understanding of the aviation industry and are familiar with advising on the specifics of aviation liability, from Convention rights to domestic regulation and common law claims.  

We work closely with specialist colleagues in areas such as aviation financing, planning and real estate work including airports, cyber risks and technology, media, telecoms and corporate finance. 

Our experience includes advising:

  • An aircraft leasing company against an international airline in respect of alleged breaches of an Aircraft Leasing Agreement.
  • Kuwait Airways on multiple actions including appeals up to the House of Lords following the theft of its fleet, including actions for perjury, conversion of spare parts, and worldwide enforcement. The case resulted in a $ 1.4bn judgment and a significant commercial/state settlement.
  • An airline in litigation relating to the supply and defective design of the ICE system on a fleet of aircraft leading to critical overheating of the cabling and individual equipment. 
  • A Fortune 500 entity on a multi-million dollar dispute in respect of an aircraft sale and purchase agreement including a stakeholder application.
  • A joint task force with the Metropolitan Police, FBI and FAA Inspectorate General’s Department on investigating stolen and bogus spares and forged/false back to birth spares records.  The enquiry led to raids on 37 premises and a complete overhaul of regulation and practice.


CMS International Construction Study 2024
In recent years, construction and engineering businesses have faced a whole storm of headwinds. CMS, in partnership with YouGov, asked in-house lawyers about the biggest challenges of managing disputes in this environment - and how those challenges can be met.   Sixty-second summaryThe evolving nature of construction risk will see changes to standard contracts and negotiation positions. It may also bring more disputes, particularly where those changes lag behind project realities. Fewer than half the businesses we surveyed reported that the in-house legal or contract management team is always consulted at the start of a project to identify areas of risk and to establish appropriate risk management strategies. Most in-house lawyers believe their businesses could improve the way in which risk is managed during projects - often in a number of important ways. Despite the potential benefits, only 17% of the in-house lawyers we surveyed are using AI in disputes or contract management. Some say they will never use it. Most in-house lawyers believe their businesses have a lot of scope to improve the way that project risks are managed. AI has the potential to be a game-changer in this area by optimising processes, planning, scheduling and other elements of case management and by revolutionising the way a business handles its portfolio of contracts. 
Protection from protests
Protest on the streets, protest online, even litigation used as a vehicle for protest. Protestors targeting a business may be standing in a crowd, holding a placard or shouting slogans. But they may also be behind a computer screen or pursuing a claim against the business through the courts. They may even be working inside the business, preparing to compromise its systems or leak confidential information. Whether they are activists, employees or customers, all these protestors may present a substantial challenge and a real threat to businesses, in areas including its security, reputation and bottom line. 
Aviation - clearer skies ahead?
The last couple of years have been a turbulent time for the aviation industry as a result of both the pandemic and increasing environmental concerns. This report from Legal Flightpath – CMS Aviation...
Aircraft finance and leasing in the pandemic and beyond - Moving out of...
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought existential threats to the entire aviation ecosystem and has required considerable creativity, flexibility and commercial partnership between in­dustry par­ti­cipants...