Debevoise & Plimpton has long been associated with the aviation sector and it continues to be a standout firm thanks to its experience and depth of expertise. The dedicated team is able to handle the most complex of mandates, and is best known for its representation of large Russian airlines. Its number-one client is Aeroflot, which the group recently advised on its purchase of 16 new Boeing 777 aircraft, valued at USD4.6 billion. The practice also does work for lessors and recently acted for a US client on its lease of a Boeing 737 aircraft to a Russian airline. According to sources, the firm “definitely knows the market well, and has an excellent reputation.” Geoffrey Burgess has considerable experience in advising Russian clients from his London base, and he continues to be an active figure in the sector. Sources affirm that he enjoys a “huge amount of respect.” Alan Kartashkin is a renowned lawyer working across a number of practice areas, and often works on high-profile aviation transactions. His long experience with Aeroflot lies behind much of the success of the practice.
With its worldwide reputation for financial excellence, it comes as no surprise to find Allen & Overy on the lessor side of many prominent deals. According to market contacts, its key attraction for clients is its ability to blend local and international expertise to provide balanced and tailored advice. The firm recently acted for VTB Leasing with regard to a helicopter finance transaction, and it also lent assistance to GE Capital Aviation Services in connection with the lease of a Boeing 767-300ER to Nord Win Airlines. Ilya Dvorkin is a “talented young lawyer” with an increasingly visible profile in the market. His in-house experience and energetic approach mark him out as a capable practitioner with plenty of potential.
Thanks to its ability to draw on a wealth of international resources, this firm is noted for its “terrific global practice.” The banking and finance ability of its Moscow-based team means that the firm is particularly noted for its representation of lessors, and its abilities in this field help it attract some of the biggest names in the market. For example, it recently acted on behalf of RBS Aerospace on the leasing of two Airbus A320 aircraft to Ural Airlines. PK AirFinance also instructed the group in connection with the lease of one Airbus A319-100 aircraft to Air Lines of Kuban. Victoria Bortkevicha is a well-known finance specialist and a key contact for the firm.
This firm has an excellent portfolio of aviation work throughout the world's emerging markets, and its co-ordinated inter-office practice helps to provide seamless coverage to clients around the world. The Russian office has been associated with this field for some time, and is particularly noted for its co-operation with many large and mid-sized Russian airlines. London-based specialist Nick Chandler has a global profile and more than 20 years of experience in Russian markets, and earns commendations as “a brilliant lawyer.” On the Moscow team, Phillip Lamzin attracts a great deal of praise for his proactive approach, and peers appreciate the fact that he “tries to reach agreements and get the deal done.” In addition to her work in the TMT sector, Anna Otkina has an extensive following of clients in the aviation sector and wins praise for her knowledge of the industry.
This firm prides itself on its practical and business-oriented approach, and its exceptional knowledge of the sector, cultivated through its wide client base. Despite a few turbulent years, the team has retained the approval of clients and there are signs that its market reputation is once more on the rise. Sources highlight its exceptional response times, claiming that its lawyers “make you feel safe and able to count on them.” Its historical ties to the industry and its ability to work effectively on both sides of a transaction mean that the future looks increasingly bright for this outfit. Alexei Yanboukhtin is a key contact for the practice and provides a calming influence in challenging negotiations, say clients: “He is always in control and keeps his cool.”
With the arrival of Thomas McDonald, the Moscow office of White & Case has been strengthened considerably, and its reputation in this sector is expected to grow accordingly. Sources attest that McDonald is a client-oriented lawyer who “works very quickly and knows what he is talking about.” The firm recently acted on behalf of Aviacapital Service with regard to the acquisition, financing and leasing of 50 new Boeing 737 aircraft to a number of Russian airlines. Basic Element Group also instructed the team in connection with the purchase of five Boeing 737 aircraft. Clients speak warmly of the support they receive, maintaining that “working with the firm is very rewarding.”
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