THE FIRM With a stellar reputation for top class work, Holland & Knight remains one of the most sought after names for high-end aviation financing. The team excels across a full range of transactions with a real strength in handling issues both for lessors and airlines. As is necessary for a top flight aviation practice, the team has extensive experience working in jurisdictions across the globe. Last year, the team was chosen by GE Capital Aviation Services to handle its $5 billion acquisition of 60 Airbus aircraft.
Client Service "Holland & Knight work as an integrated team. This fact is hugely important for the development of bench strength and gives confidence to clients that if the principal partner on a transaction is not available, then there is always alternative available expertise."
Commercial Awareness "They're very knowledgeable, great technical lawyers and they know the subject matter very well. They staff things efficiently and they really understand the issues which makes for very efficient negotiations."
KEY INDIVIDUALS William Piels is widely regarded as one of the best in the sector, with one impressed client stating: "He is what most lawyers aim to be: enormously experienced, incredibly commercial and also practical." He is known for his representation of domestic and international airlines and major financial institutions in lease finance transactions.
Clients describe Fred Bass as a "very good lawyer who is extremely knowledgeable." He has extensive experience handling a range of asset financing and played a key role in the aforementioned GE Capital Aviation Services purchase agreement.
John Pritchard is undoubtedly first class in this area. He "understands the subject matter, is good at working with the other side and he can explain everything very clearly," notes one source. He continues to advises JetBlue Airways in secured loan financings for new aircraft and is also representing Export Development Canada with a $155 million financing of eight Bombardier aircraft to be sold to Ethiopian Airlines.
Sources predict a bright future for Phillip Durham, a senior associate who is increasingly playing a key role in major deals at the firm. He is assisting Bass on the GE Capital Aviation Services matter and is singled out by clients for his "understanding of the commercial aspects" of transactions.