Aviation, Aerospace & Defence


When you work in the aviation, aerospace or defence sector, the challenges you face are numerous: day-to-day operations; financing; regulatory compliance; regulatory environment; customer and supply arrangements; trade and logistics; security; acquisitions; a complex and ever-growing regulatory environment; procurement; infrastructure; protecting and commercialising technology and assets; and complex disputes.

It's a big list – one that requires lawyers who understand your business and market, with the ability to advise around the world in a highly complex, highly inter-woven and highly regulated industry. It requires professionals who understand the regulatory, cost and other pressures you face, and the complex, cross-border nature of the supply chains involved.

Complete expertise

Gowling WLG offers all of these things.  We are experts in aviation, aerospace and defence with a long history of working in the sector.

We strive to provide you with the sophisticated, start-to-finish legal advice you need to achieve your commercial objectives. Multi-jurisdictional expertise, technical excellence and sector knowledge combine to deliver fast, cost-effective results.

Whether your products have a civil or military application, or are highly specialised or diverse, we can provide full support. And because we're so well resourced, we can scale our practice for small to large deals, in your country or around the world.

Our team has expertise in crucial areas such as:

  • Acquisition and divestiture
  • Aircraft maintenance repair and overhaul
  • Aircraft financing – including lease and loan structures
  • Airport infrastructure
  • Air traffic control
  • Alliancing and outsourcing transactions
  • Cape Town Convention matters including International Registry
  • Certification and registration of aircraft
  • Competition and foreign investment issues
  • Contentious and non-contentious intellectual property issues
  • Defence and other procurement contracts
  • Dispute resolution
  • Drones (UAVs) regulation and licensing
  • Government relations
  • Health and safety
  • Import/export controls
  • IP protection and commercialisation of product design and know-how
  • Insurance
  • Litigation, including class actions
  • Manufacturing and supply chain issues
  • Regulatory compliance
  • Sanction, bribery and corruption
  • Satellites
  • Taxation and transfer pricing issues
  • Trade AgreementsTrade and export control issues

In addition to our sector expertise, our firm consistently delivers practical insight and advice in all of the 'usual' areas of corporate deals, banking and finance, contracts and commercial law, intellectual property rights, and dispute resolution. Truly global, our lawyers have handled disputes in more than 50 jurisdictions under a variety of courts and international arbitration rules, including LCIA, ICC and UNCITRAL.

We are committed to delivering an effective service at a reasonable price. By making use of innovative tools and resources – such as Practical LPM™, Gowling WLG's comprehensive legal project management platform – we allocate our resources efficiently and offer you innovative fee models, tailored to your needs, that go beyond the traditional hourly rate.

Proven track record

  • Advising Meggitt and UTC Aerospace Systems (Goodrich) on arrangements to supply components and sub-contracted manufacturing for projects such as the A380, the Joint Strike Fighter and Boeing 777.
  • Advising GKN on the property and environmental aspects of the £1 billion sale of its 50% stake in AgustaWestland.
  • Advising international airlines, including British Airways, Air Canada, Air China, Air Pacific, Garuda Indonesia, Malaysia Airlines, Norwegian Air, Olympic Air Oman Air, Thai Airways and Turkish Airlines.
  • Advising the UK Ministry of Defence for 20 years – including on its contracts for its iconic two new aircraft carriers.
  • Serving as general counsel to NAV Canada (the Canadian Civil Air Traffic Control System), a role Gowling WLG has held since the organization’s inception.
  • Providing long-term advice to major suppliers of aerospace, electronic and information security systems to commercial, defence and security customers worldwide.
  • Counsel to an unmanned aerial vehicle company, including providing advice on drone regulation on licensing and operating requirements, exemptions and updating commentary on the Canadian and American drone regulatory framework
  • Advising a US-based semiconductor design and manufacturing company in three class actions in which the plaintiffs allege price fixing and anti-competitive conduct against producers of static random access to memory (SRAM)
  • Acting for bond underwriters for redevelopment financings for many Canadian International Airports (all structured under long-term ground leases) including more than $1.5 billion in airport bond financings, construction loans and operating credits
  • Acted for Cargojet Inc. in a $74 million bought deal offering of 5.50% convertible unsecured subordinated debentures
  • Advising a major Canadian airline on the maintenance, repair and overhaul of its aircraft.
  • Advising Bombardier on the global tax restructuring of its aviation operations.
  • Working with Bombardier on the review of its portfolio of commercial aircraft leasing agreements.

Learn more

You can count on Gowling WLG to assist your business in becoming a leaner, more profitable enterprise. To learn more about how we can help you succeed, please contact any member of our team.