Airfinance Journal's annual legal survey includes aviation finance and leasing deals based on submissions from law firms as well as Airfinance Journal's Deal Tracker. The rankings relate to the volume of aircraft finance and leasing transactions completed during 2021 taking into account their complexity and the role of the law firms working on them.
Our team in Asia-Pacific, led by Co-head of Bird & Bird’s Aviation & Aerospace Group Leo Fattorini, has jumped in the rankings from 5th in 2020 to 2nd this year. The team includes Christopher Healy, Xiao Wang, Aubrey Tao, Adam Smart, Chow Yue Poon, Khushboo Jain, Christine Seah and Man Zhu.
Leo Fattorini comments on the market:
“The aviation market in Asia-Pacific remained constrained for much of the past year, such that a significant portion of our work has been related to ongoing restructurings, court-based and otherwise. In this respect, it’s been terrific to see the vast majority of lessor, financier and OEM creditors supporting their cash-strapped airline customers throughout the crisis. Although the vast China market is still largely closed to international traffic (with a consequent ongoing impact on the region as a whole), there has been a marked pick-up in air travel across South-East and South Asia as restrictions have fallen away in recent months. However capacity remains a good deal lower than in 2019 as airlines work to get aircraft back into service, and re-hire the staff to support this - with yields up accordingly. Airlines in APAC will need to be careful to balance their recovery of higher operating costs from passengers, while still offering competitive fares to a travelling public increasingly facing financial pressures themselves.”
“The operating lease market (especially for multiple newer technology aircraft) appears bullish for the moment as airlines begin to take delivery of deferred aircraft. Established and newer equity funds continue to look for new deals in the region, and commercial debt financing is starting to pick up. Over the past few months we’ve also seen an uptick in trading between lessors. Throughout the pandemic we have been busy supporting lessors involved in the cargo market, with P2F converted aircraft in particular. We see this area of the industry continuing to thrive, with large numbers of aircraft still awaiting conversion and air carriers keen to get their hands on them as quickly as possible.”
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