Background - Practices (Details)



Crowell & Moring and its predecessors pioneered aviation law practice almost 60 years ago. Current clients include U.S. and foreign airlines, tour operators, carrier and manufacturer associations, aircraft and component parts manufacturers, unmanned aircraft systems (aka UAS or drones) operators and manufacturers, and other companies with aviation interests. The Aviation Group's work centers on regulatory, legislative, administrative, enforcement, business aircraft transactions, and litigation matters. Working with lawyers in other areas at our firm, and economists and experienced trade professionals at C&M International, our aviation-related practice also includes antitrust, bankruptcy, contracts, customs, export control, financing, immigration, labor and employment, tax, and trade work.

Our regulatory work focuses primarily on the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), covering issues such as airline alliances and codesharing, airport access, antitrust immunity, business aviation, essential air service, certification and licensing, competition, unmanned aircraft systems (aka UAS or drones), enforcement, flight operations, hazardous materials, mergers and acquisitions, route authority, and safety regulation. We also represent clients before other federal departments and agencies, including the Transportation Security Administration, the National Transportation Safety Board, Customs & Border Protection, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of State, the Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC), and the Department of Commerce. In addition, we work with the Department of State and foreign governments on bilateral and multilateral aviation issues and serve as an advisor in international negotiations.

Our business aviation practice encompasses the full range of transactional and regulatory issues affecting corporate aircraft owners and operators. We advise individuals, as well as large and small businesses, both foreign and domestic, in aircraft sale, purchase, lease, fractional ownership, management, and finance transactions. Our lawyers participated in the FAA aviation rulemaking committees tasked with developing the agency’s fractional ownership program regulations and modernizing FAA's rules governing business aviation. We regularly provide advice on FAA, DOT, and income and excise tax issues affecting aircraft operations and corporate flight departments. We also assist our clients in structuring their aircraft operations to comply with applicable FAA, DOT, and IRS requirements. In addition, we have represented pilots and others in FAA enforcement actions and NTSB appeals.

We also have engaged extensively in airport access litigation and appellate work on a variety of administrative agency decisions. This includes DOT and FAA enforcement actions against airlines, manufacturers, and other certificated entities and persons, appeals to the NTSB, and challenges to agency rulemaking. In other areas of litigation, we have substantial experience in aviation products liability cases and tort claims. In the legislative field, we assist clients in achieving their objectives by furnishing assistance in drafting legislation and testimony on issues such as airline regulation, foreign investment in airlines, airport access, and slot regulation.

Representative Clients

  • United Airlines
  • Helicopter Association International
  • Aer Lingus
  • SkyWest Airlines
  • ExpressJet Airlines
  • Transaero Airlines
  • Regional Airline Association
  • Corsairfly
  • Thompson Airways
  • Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International
  • Jetairfly
  • Airlines Reporting Corporation
  • Maverick Aviation Group
  • TUI Travel
  • Emery Air Freight