Aviation is a highly-regulated industry which confronts new and complex legal issues daily, crossing borders and continents. Eckert Seamans’ Aviation Group has a comprehensive understanding of the industry, grasping the vast array of regulatory, corporate and transactional, legislative and litigation matters involving air carriers, airline alliances, airport operators, trade associations and civil aviation authorities.
Our team has extensive experience with all of the relevant federal regulatory agencies, including the Department of Transportation (DOT), Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Department of Justice (DOJ), Bureau of Customs and Border Protection, Transportation Safety Administration (TSA), Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), as well as international agencies in connection with regulatory proceedings, audits and investigations. Counseling and representing a broad client base, the cross-disciplinary aviation team at Eckert Seamans has in-depth experience with regulatory issues, aircraft transactions and financings, accident litigation, and commercial and airline claims, as well as immigration, environmental, insolvency/bankruptcy, intellectual property, labor/employment, ownership, tax, and other commercial matters.
Firm attorneys have represented airlines ranging from large, established organizations to emerging international airlines on legal issues arising from their operations to the United States, including obtaining operating licenses and assisting airlines in meeting U.S. federal, state and airport requirements; enforcement proceedings; obtaining charter authority and operational authorizations for blocked space arrangements, codeshares and wet leases; and obtaining FAA air operator certificates. In addition, the Aviation Group assists clients with ongoing compliance issues related to federal aviation regulations, including aircraft registration, the import and export of aircraft to and from the United States, and airworthiness, operational and new training requirements; providing comments on proposed regulatory measures; obtaining international carrier customs bonds and handling U.S. customs and immigration issues; and advising on consumer issues, including advertising rules and other potential unfair competitive practices.
Eckert Seamans attorneys have represented both domestic and international airlines ranging from large, established organizations to start-ups, as well as corporate and business aviation enterprises in regard to all aspects of U.S. operations. Eckert Seamans attorneys routinely work with such federal agencies as the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) in licensing, enforcement and certification matters.
In addition, we counsel clients on issues such as airline codeshare and alliance partners, global computer reservation systems, competition, export, re-export and sanctions laws, hazardous material transportation, and lease of airport premises, slots and airport user fees. We also advise airlines on consumer issues, including advertising and disability rules, as well as other potential unfair competitive practices. Members of our aviation team have also prepared and presented comments before U.S. federal agencies and Congressional Committees on proposed regulatory measures impacting the aviation industry.
Transactional & Corporate
Our attorneys have many years of experience in representing airlines in the purchase, leasing and financing of new and used aircraft, engines and related equipment as well as advising them on general corporate matters.
Our transactional services include:
- Drafting and negotiating aircraft purchase, lease and sale documentation
- Assisting in lender and insurance selection negotiations
- Negotiation of technical and maintenance support agreements;
- Creating a coordinated strategy for federal and state taxes, FAA compliance and liability protection planning;
- Preparing and reviewing contracts with travel agents and wholesalers, charter contracts and maintenance and spare parts contracts.
Based in Washington, D.C., the firm’s attorneys and staff advise clients on upcoming legislative and regulatory matters. Our attorneys attend Congressional hearings and meetings at the various agencies in support of our airline clients and prepare comments as requested on proposed regulatory measures impacting their airline interests.
Our aviation attorneys have litigated numerous aviation cases in state and federal trial and appellate courts and agencies throughout the United States and have also represented airlines in all forms of alternate dispute resolution (ADR) including international arbitration proceedings. In addition, our litigators have established legal precedent favorable to foreign airlines on such matters as jurisdiction of U.S. courts over non-U.S. companies, the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, export controls, the Warsaw and Montreal Conventions and the extraterritorial extension of the U.S. antitrust laws.
We have successfully litigated disputes on behalf of airlines before International Arbitration Tribunals established under the International Chamber of Commerce, the American Arbitration Association and the Algerian Accords.
Eckert Seamans’ immigration attorneys assist employers in structuring hiring programs and managing immigration matters in order to enable employers to compete more effectively in the global marketplace for the best professional talent. We assist employers in working through complex and nuanced immigration laws and regulations and represent them before the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services and the U.S. Departments of State and Labor.
Our services also include providing advice on securing employment-based temporary and permanent visas, including B-1 business visitor visas, H-1B specialty occupation visas, L-1 visas for cross border intra-company transfers of key personnel, E-1/E-2 Treaty Trader/Treaty Investors Nonimmigrant visas, and National Interest visas, and ensuring compliance with federal immigration and labor laws affecting the employment of foreign nationals.
Labor & Employment
Eckert Seamans’ Labor and Employment Group provides full-service representation in all facets of employment and labor relations. Our labor and employment attorneys will aggressively defend management’s decisions and prerogatives in the courtroom. Eckert Seamans has assembled a team of employment litigators which has substantial jury trial experience and a track record of successful outcomes in courtrooms throughout the United States. Our seasoned traditional labor lawyers’ expertise covers National Labor Review Board (NLRB) proceedings and related appellate work, collective bargaining, labor arbitrations, union avoidance training, union vulnerability audits and guidance through organization campaigns. Our lawyers also provide counseling and dispute-prevention assistance by reviewing and drafting personnel policies, handbooks, and other employment documentation. We regularly plan and guide employers through reductions in force, exit incentive or early retirement programs, individual termination or disciplinary actions and the administration and implementation of policies to comply with federal and state laws.
The firm’s Intellectual Property Group engages in the full spectrum of practice in this specialized area of the law, including U.S. and foreign patent, trademark, copyright, trade secret and unfair competition law, and the negotiation, preparation and enforcement of a variety of related agreements such as license, assignment, consulting, employment, nondisclosure and joint venture agreements.
Evelyn D. Sahr
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Eckert Seamans Adds Beth FitzPatrick to Aviation Practice
Drew Derco Joins Eckert Seamans’ Washington, D.C. Office
Ehrig Joins Eckert Seamans’ Aviation Group