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Sebastian M. Smith

Fax +81.3.3597.6421
Sebastian Smith is a partner in the firm’s Tokyo office. Mr. Smith has wide ranging aviation experience and regularly advises leasing companies, financial institutions, export credit agencies, institutional lenders and airlines in respect of cross-border aircraft and ship finance and leasing transactions. He has significant experience with the Japanese Operating Leases with Call Option (JOLCO) market in Japan, as well as advising on sub-contracting of cargo services for an international airline.

In addition to his asset finance experience, Mr. Smith has general banking experience and has advised on finance transactions for investments into Indonesia.

Professional Background

Mr. Smith previously worked at a Magic Circle law firm in London in their Asset Finance department. During his tenure there, he was seconded to both Airbus and RBS Aviation Capital (now named SMBC Aviation Capital).


  • Recommended by Legal 500 as a JOLCO specialist in Japan.
  • Listed as a “Recognized Practitioner” for Banking & Finance: International Firms: Asset Finance (Japan) by Chambers Asia Pacific 2018
  • Listed as a “Foreign Expert based in Japan” in Chambers Global 2017 Guide for Foreign Experts
  • Listed as a “Rising Star” in 2014 by AirFinance Journal.
  • Listed as a “Rising Star” associate in the 2014 edition of Expert Guides - Aviation.

Speaking Engagements

  • Tokyo AirFinance Engine Round Table, Panel Member, 2017
  • Japan: Loan signing and drawdown (CP) Q&A, Practical Law, February 2018
  • Japan: Waiver & Consent Letter Q&A, Practical Law, July 2017
  • Japan: Comfort Letters Q&A, Practical Law, July 2017
  • Japan: Corporate Loan Facilities Q&A, Practical Law, July 2017
Financial Institutions/ Leasing Companies/ Export Credit Agencies and Institutional Lenders
  • Advised Tokyo Century Corporation (“TC”) in a USD595 million transaction with Pacific Life Insurance Company for an investment of a 20 per cent membership interest in Aviation Capital Group LLC (ACG) - this transaction won Airline Economics “Equity Deal of the Year, 2017”.
  • Advised the equity arranger on Global Transport Finance’s “Aircraft Lessor JOLCO deal of the Year, 2016”.
  • Advised Tokyo Century Corporation (formerly Century Tokyo Leasing Corporation) (“TCC”) as JV partner and the sole lender in its US$2 billion aircraft leasing joint venture with CIT Group (“CIT”), which established joint venture companies in both Ireland and the United States (Delaware). CTL provided 70% of the equity in the deal and all of the US$1.5 billion in debt financing.
  • Represented TCC in their capacity as a bidder in relation to the purchase of the aircraft-leasing business of CIT, the CIT fleet includes in excess of 350 commercial aircraft. We completed due diligence on both the lease and loan portfolio including the provision of a detailed due diligence report with a summary of our findings. The portfolio is estimated to be worth US$10 billion.
  • Acted for TCC in relation to the refinancing of a mezzanine loan previously maintained as notes by the outgoing lender. The loan was made to a subsidiary of KV Aviation with respect to one Boeing 777-300ER aircraft operated by EVA Air.
  • Represented a Japanese based operating lessor in relation to two JOLCOs involving c. This was the first JOLCO for Pegasus.
  • Advised a client in its capacity as arranger for equity investors in relation to financing of one Boeing 737-800 aircraft by way of JOLCO for Aviation Capital Group (“ACG”).
  • Advised mezzanine lender in AirFinance Journal’s “PDP Deal of the year 2014” involving SriLankan Airlines’ pre-delivery payment (PDP) financing of three A330s.
  • Advised a client in its capacity as arranger for equity investors in relation to the financing of three Airbus A319-100 aircraft by way of JOLCO for Air France.
  • Advised a client in relation to their participation in a lending arrangement used to finance Cathay Pacific Aircraft Leasing (H.K) Limited's purchase of one A330-330 Airbus aircraft.
  • Advised R.W. Pressprich & Co., Seaport Global Securities and DBS Bank as arrangers as underwriters in connection with establishing a US$500 Million global Reg S/144A note program for Avation, a Singapore leasing company.
  • Advising in relation to a Japanese Operating Lease (JOL) for one Boeing 737-900 aircraft leased to KLM Royal Dutch Airlines.
  • Advising on the sale/lease novation of one A319-100 whilst still on lease to Iberia.
  • Advising on the sale of three Airbus A320-200s upon expiry of leases to Iberia.
  • Advising in relation to lease extensions with TUI Travel Aviation Finance Limited.
  • Advising in relation to financing of A320-200 for AWAS.
  • Advising a Chinese state owned commercial bank and buyer in the acquisition of Singapore Aircraft Leasing Enterprise (SALE) for bringing together China's largest aircraft financier and Asia's largest aircraft leasing company.
  • Advising an aircraft leasing company in respect of an Operating Lease to Xiamen Airlines.
  • Advising an aircraft leasing company on the sale of a secured aircraft loan portfolio, comprising 31 aircraft, from Airbus Financial Services and its affiliates.
  • Advising an export credit agency in relation to financing of Bombardier aircraft.
  • Advising a lessor in respect of Sterling Airlines A/S going into bankruptcy.
  • Advising an international financial institution in respect of the provision of a bridging loan/letter of credit facility to an Indonesian investment fund.
  • Advising a lessor in respect of aircraft leasing to various airlines including Hellas Jet, Blue Air and Sterling Airlines.
  • Advising an insurer with respect to dispute with South African Airways.
  • Advising an aircraft leasing company with respect to aircraft financings.

  • Advising an Indonesian airline on financing its purchase of Bombardier aircraft.
  • Advising an Asia based airline on the Islamic financing of six Airbus A320-200 aircraft and the Export Credit Agency backed financing of an aircraft simulator.
  • Advising an Asia based airline on various aircraft financing transactions.
  • Advising a Pakistani airline on Ex-Im Bank financing of Boeing aircraft.
  • Advising a Chinese budget airline on aircraft purchase agreement with Airbus.
  • Advising a UK chartered airline on wet lease to Skyservice Airlines Inc.