Airport Law & Aviation Services

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McBreen & Kopko’s Airport Law and Aviation Services Group represents domestic and international clients on a broad range of regulatory, commercial, business, and technical matters at airports throughout the U.S. Many of our lawyers have worked as in-house counsel at ground handlers, fixed base operators, and airlines. Our experience and extensive knowledge of the aviation industry enable us to provide comprehensive, cost effective services to our clients, including:

  • Airline caterers
  • Airport real estate lessors
  • Aviation services industry associations
  • Fixed base operators (FBOs)
  • Fueling service providers
  • Ground handling companies
  • Ground support equipment manufacturers
  • Specialized aviation service operations (SASOs)

Acquisitions and Divestitures
Our attorneys regularly negotiate and document complex transactions for our U.S. and foreign clients, including mergers, acquisitions and divestitures, stock sales and purchases, joint ventures, strategic alliances, and private equity investments. We represent buyers and sellers in all phases of the acquisition process of FBOs, SASOs, and other aviation businesses, including due diligence, the drafting and negotiation of acquisition agreements, preparation of schedules and closing documents, assisting parties in obtaining consents and assignments, and closing transactions.

Negotiations with Airports
We represent companies doing business at airports in the negotiation of ground leases, obtaining of permits and licenses, and provide advice on issues involving fair competition, exclusive rights, unjust discrimination, and other Grant Assurance violations. In addition, we assist with environmental and other regulatory compliance matters and handle litigation. We routinely review and analyze Minimum Standards and other airport rules and regulations for our clients.

Part 13 and Part 16 Matters
Our attorneys draft and file Part 13 informal complaints and Part 16 formal complaints when issues arise involving fair competition, exclusive rights, unjust discrimination, and other Grant Assurance violations. We counsel clients on mediation and settlement of claims, as well as on the regulations governing the Part 13 and Part 16 processes and FAA decisions in other cases.

Aviation Agreements, Leases, and Licenses
We draft, review, and negotiate airport leases and licenses on behalf of FBOs, SASOs, and other aviation service businesses with private entities at airports. Counsel routinely assists with terminal, warehouse, and hanger leases and licenses, gate and other passenger terminal agreements, office leases, ground handling agreements, into-plane fueling agreements, catering agreements, and other airport-related agreements. McBreen & Kopko serves as counsel to ground handling trade organizations, including the Airport Services Council (International) and the Airline Services Council (U.S.). The firm also works closely with the National Air Transportation Association (NATA) on matters concerning FBOs and SASOs.

Corporate & Commercial Matters (Day to Day Legal Matters)
McBreen & Kopko attorneys provide legal services regarding commercial and general business matters and often function as U.S. general counsel for many of our aviation clients. We provide assistance to our clients with a wide range of commercial issues, leases and agreements, as well as handling general corporate matters for clients with respect to formation, fictitious name registration, maintenance, and governance of U.S. corporations, limited liability companies, and partnerships.

Trademark
Our attorneys advise clients on the selection, clearance, registration, maintenance, and enforcement of trade and service marks in the United States and in foreign countries. We provide advice on infringement matters from the perspective of both defending proprietary trade brands and asserting rights against unauthorized third parties, and are experienced in negotiating and drafting licensing agreements.

In addition, we assist clients in organizing, developing, and managing their intellectual property portfolios including domain names and copyrighted material. We provide legal advice to marketing and advertising departments on a regular basis when called upon to act as outside general counsel for companies that do not have their own legal department or trademark counsel.

Litigation
We represent clients during all phases of litigation and appeals before state and federal courts, administrative agencies, and arbitration tribunals. We have experience in handling litigation in multiple states defending aviation services businesses, airport landlords and tenants, insured parties, insurance companies, and self-insured entities. Our practice includes defense litigation in the areas of product liability, transportation, litigation, medical malpractice, premises liability, employment law, and other aviation-related litigation. McBreen & Kopko attorneys have been placed on the panels of several aviation insurers and are often appointed to represent aviation interests by either the insurers or by specific client request.

Bankruptcy & Creditors’ Rights
We are experienced in handling a broad spectrum of issues arising in aviation bankruptcy proceedings, and we have provided legal counsel in all of the major air carrier bankruptcies during the last decade, including foreign airline bankruptcies filed under Chapter 15.

We provide advice to creditors on filing and preserving their secured and unsecured claims, and handle various matters over the course of the bankruptcy case, including motions to vacate the automatic stay, and to compel assumption or rejection of executor contracts as an adjunct to the enforcement of creditors’ rights. We are experienced in analyzing preference exposure and available defenses to preference actions and fraudulent conveyance claims that may be brought by the debtor.

The firm assists aviation service industry clients by both enforcing and defending their rights as creditors and parties to executory contracts and leases. We have experience in negotiating and litigating issues pertaining to the assumption or rejection of executory contracts and leases for non-residential real property, defending claim objections, acquiring critical vendor status, asserting and enforcing administrative claims and reclamation rights, and enforcing the terms and conditions of pre-petition contracts and leases post-bankruptcy filing. During the course of the bankruptcy case, we also assist in providing general oversight and review of the plan formulation and confirmation process to preserve and protect our clients’ rights.

Finally, and just as importantly, we can provide good practical advice on how to structure commercial agreements and terms of payment to eliminate or minimize the effects of air carrier or other bankruptcies on our clients.

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