Bird & Bird expands its Middle East Aviation and Dispute Resolution Practices with the arrival of former Air Arabia Group General Counsel, Anna Anatolitou.

15 January 2014

Bird & Bird is pleased to announce that it has appointed Anna Anatolitou as a partner in the firm’s UAE offices. She joined the firm at the end of December to spearhead the growth of Bird & Bird's Middle East aviation and dispute resolution practices.

Anna was General Counsel of the Air Arabia Group and prior to that with Norton Rose Fulbright. She has over 13 years of experience as an aviation and dispute resolution lawyer both in private practice and in industry. She also has an in-depth understanding of a broad range of UAE laws, having spent 6 years in the UAE.

In aviation, Anna has hands-on experience of a broad range of legal issues faced by aviation entities, having acted for a range of clients including airlines, insurers, manufacturers, airports, MROs, ground agents, lessors and financiers. This has included advising on aviation liability (including some of the most high profile major losses), commercial and regulatory work, as well as all forms of aviation commercial agreements, financing and leasing.

In dispute resolution, Anna’s experience covers a broad range of general commercial dispute resolution. She has acted for a wide range of clients, on disputes concerning property, construction, aviation, shipping, manufacturing, product liability, JVs, Insurance, employment, health & safety, competition, and general contract and tort issues. She has experience in numerous jurisdictions and has advised clients in local and international litigation, arbitration, mediation, and negotiation. She has also acted on high profile cross border, multi party/class actions, including Supreme Court cases.

Her arrival will strengthen Bird & Bird's Middle East Aviation and Dispute Resolution practices in a market that is currently experiencing enormous growth.

Anna Anatolitou said: "This is an exciting time to be joining Bird & Bird's Middle East Practice.  I have observed with great interest the impressive growth of the firm’s global reputation in both Aviation and Dispute Resolution over the past few years.  The Middle East is currently experiencing enormous growth in both practice areas.  As exhibited during the recent Dubai Air Show, aviation activity in the region is fast eclipsing other regions.  Dubai International Airport is now the world's second busiest airport and by 2015 it is due to overtake London Heathrow as the world's busiest airport. Dispute Resolution options in the region are plentiful: local civil law courts operating in Arabic; common law DIFC Courts operating in English and a number of reputable arbitration institutions. There is no longer a need to look overseas for effective dispute resolution options.  I believe Bird & Bird will provide the perfect sector-focused platform for me to capitalise on those opportunities and to offer highly-specialised advice in my fields."

Paul Briggs, Co-Head of the Aviation Group comments: “Now Anna has joined, we have practical “touching the metal” capability in the Middle East to advise airlines, insurers, MROs, lessors and investors on all legal issues. Our International Aviation Sector Group has grown considerably over the past ten years and will continue to keep growing.”

Steven Baker, Head of the Dispute Resolution Group comments: “We have advised clients on regional disputes for some time but having on the ground expertise enables us to provide an enhanced service to both local and international clients.”

Mark Pinder, Bird & Bird's Managing Partner in the Middle East said: "We're very pleased to welcome Anna, a leading aviation professional on board. Her considerable expertise in the field of aviation and disputes will be hugely beneficial to the development of our broad Middle East Aviation and Dispute Resolution practices, acting as we do for some of the major airlines in the region. It also reflects our continuous growth over the past years and our ambitions for the future."

Last year Bird & Bird was joined by Matthias Winter in Frankfurt and Brett Hailey in London together leading the firm's aircraft finance team, Leo Fattorini in Singapore leading the aviation team in Asia and Simon Phippard who joined from Rolls Royce to support Bird & Bird's dispute resolution and  corporate governance practice and aerospace relationships.