K&L Gates Aviation Finance Practice Recognized with Multiple Deal of the Year Honors During AirFinance Journal Awards
London - Global law firm K&L Gates LLP’s aviation finance practice was recognized for its role on four matters honored as deals of the year during the 2019 AirFinance Journal Awards. The winning deals were selected by a judging panel of senior aviation finance executives from the airline, finance, legal, and manufacturing sectors, and were announced during a virtual ceremony on 30 June.
The deals for which K&L Gates was recognized were:
- ABS Deal of the Year - A team of lawyers from K&L Gates advised JP Lease Products & Services Co., Ltd. (JP Lease) and Stratos Aircraft Management (Stratos) on a first-of-its-kind “JOL AIR 2019-1” aircraft lease asset-backed security (ABS) transaction in which JP Lease acquired 15 aircraft with an aggregate value of US$683.2 million from GE Capital Aviation Services and Pembroke Capital Aircraft, among others, involving 11 lessees in 10 countries across three continents. The K&L Gates team was led by Tokyo partner Robert Melson.
- Bank Loan Deal of the Year - A cross-border team of lawyers from K&L Gates advised Citi, Royal Bank of Canada, and Mizuho on the financing aspects around the acquisition of PK AirFinance from GE. Involving the financing of a complex aviation loan portfolio of more than $3.6 billion of financing receivables, the deal was one of the largest acquisitions in the aviation sector in the recent past. The team of K&L Gates lawyers was led by London partners Sidanth Rajagopal and Barry Cosgrave. This matter was also recognized as both the “Aviation 100 Overall Deal of the Year” and “Americas M&A Deal of the Year” at the Aviation 100 Global Leaders Award ceremony in Dublin in January.
- Innovative Deal of the Year - K&L Gates Straits Law advised Singapore-based leasing company Avation PLC in obtaining the first-ever aircraft green loan from Deutsche Bank to finance three low-carbon emission ATR 72-600 aircrafts. The first aircraft was delivered to Swedish regional airline lessee Braathens Regional Airlines (BRA) in December 2019. BRA operates a fleet of ATR 72-600, which it expects will enable it to reduce its CO2 emission by 7,500 fewer tons per aircraft per year as a result. Singapore partner James Bradley led the K&L Gates team that advised on the deal. This matter was also recognized as the “Aviation 100 European Editor’s Deal of the Year for Innovation” at the Aviation 100 Global Leaders Award ceremony in Dublin in January.
- North America Deal of the Year - K&L Gates represented a syndicate of lenders including Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank, Limited, New York Branch and Shinsei Bank, Limited as the Mandated Lead Arrangers with respect to Japanese Yen-denominated secured commercial loans made to Hawaiian Airlines for two A321neo aircraft. K&L Gates also assisted a separate syndicate of lenders including JA Mitsui Leasing, Ltd. and Norinchukin Bank as NY local counsel in connection with Japanese Yen-denominated secured commercial loans to Hawaiian Airlines with respect to four A330 aircraft. Hawaiian Airlines owns all of these aircraft. The K&L Gates team was led by Amanda Darling, a partner in the Charleston and New York offices.
“We are very happy that our global aviation finance practice and the leading clients that we represent on their prominent cross-border transactions have been recognized by AFJ and our peers across jurisdictions,” said Robert Melson, a partner in the Tokyo office and a leader of K&L Gates’ global aviation finance practice. “Our practice remains strong in spite of the myriad challenges of 2019 and 2020. We are honored to be recognized by AFJ for our work and look forward to advising on more high-level transactions and representing a diverse client base internationally.”
K&L Gates’ aviation finance practice represents financial institutions and leasing companies around the globe in connection with aircraft finance and leasing transactions, including the structuring, documenting, and negotiating of aircraft finance transactions and cross-border transactions involving multiple jurisdictions. The team works closely with their colleagues in the tax, regulatory, and litigation support practice groups in order to advise and assist financial institutions, leasing companies, and airlines on a variety of aviation matters.
K&L Gates is a fully integrated global law firm with lawyers located across five continents. The firm represents leading multinational corporations, growth and middle-market companies, capital markets participants and entrepreneurs in every major industry group as well as public sector entities, educational institutions, philanthropic organizations and individuals.