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    Unmanned Aircraft Systems Law Blog
    Crisis Management Resource Center
    Kenneth Quinn Crisis Management Video


    Kenneth P. Quinn

    Kenneth P. Quinn

    T: +1.202.663.8898 F: +1.202.663.8007
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    Ken Quinn is a partner and head of Pillsbury's top-ranked aviation, aerospace, and transportation practice and head of its focus team on Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) (among the first of its kind among U.S. law firms). He has served on the Governing Committee and as General Counsel and Secretary of the Flight Safety Foundation since 2004. In January 2015, he was elected President of the International Aviation Club of Washington, DC. In February 2015, he served as a delegate to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) High Level Safety Conference, after serving on ICAO’s Task Force on Regional Conflict Zones in the wake of MH17.

    In 2014, he was appointed as an Arbitrator to the Experts Committee of the Shanghai International Aviation Arbitration Court. He also served as the Facilitator for the first-ever ICAO Council Retreat. In 2011, he was elected Vice Chair of the ICAO Task Force on Safety Information Protection. He has served on the Governing Committee of the ABA Forum on Air and Space Law since 1994, including as Chair in 1996-98, and as Editor-in-Chief of its legal journal, The Air & Space Lawyer, from 1997-2010.

    Mr. Quinn was Chief Counsel of the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration from 1991-93, and served as counselor to the Secretary of Transportation from 1989-91. He was a Senior Advisor to the Office of the President-elect in 1988.

    Mr. Quinn was named a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society in 2006, and has served as counsel on the Board of its Washington, DC Chapter since 2008. He has served on the Board of the International Aviation Law Institute of DePaul University since 2005 and as an Editor of the Annals of Air and Space Law of McGill University since 2006. He has served on the Board of the International Aviation Club since 2008.

    He acts as regulatory, enforcement, antitrust, commercial, criminal, and litigation counsel to several domestic and international airlines, aerospace companies, airports, lenders/lessors, private equity/hedge funds, online travel agents (OTAs), and other aviation companies. His recent efforts include representing several large universities and companies in the mineral/mining, public relations, high-tech, electrical, nuclear, film, and other industries involving regulatory exemptions and legislation for the commercial use of small UAS. 

    For the past two years, he has served as principal outside counsel to Japanese battery manufacturer GS Yuasa relating to FAA, NTSB, and JTSB investigations, claims, and other matters arising out of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner battery incidents and grounding. He represents Delta Air Lines in certain litigation and airport-related matters, American Airlines in finance matters, and International Airlines Group (British Airways, Iberia, and Vueling) in strategic and regulatory matters. He advises TripAdvisor, Expedia, Fareportal, and other meta-search engines and OTAs regarding regulatory enforcement and distribution issues. He represents global investment firm KKR on certain acquisition matters. He has represented Airbus in regulatory and transactional matters, serves as a preferred provider of legal services to aircraft lessor GECAS, and represents Bombardier and Learjet in certification and enforcement matters.

    He has represented the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE) and US Contract Tower Association (USCTA) in litigation against the FAA in the Ninth Circuit over its decision to close 149 contract towers, which were reopened. He is representing one of the consortia finalists in the LaGuardia Central Terminal Building Project. He represented Australian company IFM regarding the potential privatization of Midway airport, after successfully representing Aerostar, the winning bidder and a 50-50 partnership of Highstar Capital and ASUR, a Mexican airport holding company, in the public-private partnership to manage Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport in San Juan, Puerto Rico. He has also represented the Aviation Working Group, a large coalition of aerospace companies, lenders, lessors, and law firms, regarding aircraft registration and non-citizen trust issues.

    He represented Japanese aircraft seat manufacturer Koito in FAA, EASA, and JCAB airworthiness, compliance, and claims issues. He has represented private equity funds in airline acquisitions, and a syndicate of lenders in an airline bankruptcy and restructuring.

    He is representing several aircraft and rotorcraft manufacturers in DOT, FAA, and EASA matters. He has represented the city of Chicago in airport matters for over 15 years, and represented the city in litigation against FEMA in the Northern District of Illinois. He represented Panama City, FL in the relocation of its airport and in an environmental challenge in the Second Circuit.

    He represents several of the largest real estate developers in the U.S. regarding airspace hazard issues. He represents a large number of Fortune 100 companies on aircraft management and fractional ownership issues. He regularly counsels airlines, governments, and investors on foreign ownership issues, having helped manage these issues in government and by serving as lead counsel on the seminal Virgin America case, including oral argument in successfully defending the case on appeal before the DC Circuit over DOT's decision giving the airline its certificate.

    Mr. Quinn has been particularly active in broadband wireless interference issues with the GPS signal, and criminal investigations and prosecutions of aviation accidents around the globe. He has represented multiple clients in FAA and NTSB investigations and criminal prosecutions after airline crashes, including major airlines, aerospace manufacturers, and repair stations, including in the successful defense of SabreTech in Federal and State enforcement and  criminal prosecutions following the ValuJet 592 crash. He represented a coalition of the largest aviation security companies following 9/11, after serving as Chair of the Secretary’s Task Force on Aviation Security and Intelligence at DOT following the bombing of Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie.

    He has served as a party-appointed mediator, and as Chief Judge of an AAA/ICDR arbitral panel in aviation disputes, as well as an expert in an aviation law legal malpractice case. He is currently involved in an ICC arbitration in Paris.

    Mr. Quinn served two terms as Chair of the Parish Pastoral Council at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in Washington, DC (2010 and 2011). He formerly served as Chair of its Stewardship and Development Committee, and on its Faith Formation Committee. He is Fourth Degree, Knight of Columbus, a member of the Federalist Society, the John Carroll Society, Army Navy Country Club, a Patron of the Vatican Art Museum, and sponsor of the Kennedy Center. He is married with five children, and resides in McLean, Virginia.

    Honors & Awards
    • Chambers USA, Aviation Regulatory—National (2006-2015)
    • Best Lawyers in America, Litigation – Regulatory Enforcement (2010-2016)
    • Who's Who Legal, Aviation: Regulatory—DC (2009-2014)  
    • Best of the Best USA, Aviation, Euromoney/Legal Media Group (2009, 2011-2014)
    • Experts Guide to the World's Leading Aviation Lawyers, Euromoney/Legal Media Group (2007-2014)
    • Irish Legal 100 (2010-2012)
    • Value Add Award Deal of the Year, Windfarm Project Financing, Infrastructure Journal


    Member, ABA Section of Antitrust Law; ABA Forum on Air and Space Law; ABA Torts Trial and Insurance Practice Section, Aviation and Space Law Committee; and ABA Section of Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice

    Member, Wings Club, International Aviation Club, AeroClub of Washington, John Carroll Society, The Federalist Society, Army Navy Country Club


    DC Circuit Court of Appeals, Illinois Supreme Court, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, 7th Circuit, 9th Circuit

    Upcoming and Recent Speaking Engagements

    Panelist, “Accidents and Incidents – Crimes?” European Air Law Association, 27th Annual Conference, Nov. 6, 2015. Edinburgh, Scotland.

    Speaker, “Safety Information Protection,” Flight Safety Foundation, International Air Safety Summit 2015, Nov. 2, 2015. Miami, FL.

    Marquee Speaker, “Emerging Trends in Safety Enforcement and Information Protection,” Regional Airline Association of Australia, 2015 RAAA National Convention, Oct. 23, 2015. New Castle, Australia.

    Speaker, “Developments and Opportunities in the Unmanned Aircraft Systems Industry,” Federal Publications Seminars, West Coast Government Contracts Seminar, Sept. 15, 2015. Santa Monica, CA.

    Moderator, “Surcharging Ahead: The Future of Airline Efforts to Restrict Comparison Shopping,” Global Business Travel Association, 2015 Convention, July 28, 2015. Orlando, FL.

    Speaker, “Open Skies v. Fair Skies,” Aviation Working Group, General Meeting, May 21, 2015. London, UK.

    Moderator, “Global Aircraft Tracking and Locating,” Royal Aeronautical Society, May 14, 2015. Boeing Regional Headquarters, Arlington, VA.

    Moderator, “The Gulf Carriers: Good for the US Airline Industry as well as for Consumers? Or a Threat to Sustainability?,” CAPA Centre for Aviation, Americas Aviation Summit, April 28, 2015. Las Vegas, NV.

    Speaker, “Unmanned Aircraft Systems: The Changing Legal Landscape,” Practising Law Institute, Apr. 22, 2015. Washington, DC.

    Chair, “Protection of Safety Information,” McGill University 8th Annual Conference on International Aviation Liability and Insurance, Apr. 18, 2015. Montreal, Canada.

    Panelist, “Global Liability Snapshot,” International Air Transport Association (IATA) Legal Symposium, Feb. 27, 2015. Seoul, South Korea.

    Moderator, “Poised for Flight,” Virginia Tech Conference on Unmanned Aircraft Systems, Oct. 16, 2014. Arlington, VA.

    Moderator, “Global Flight Tracking,” special presentation, The United Nations Association of the National Capital Area, The International Aviation Club, The Royal Aeronautical Society-Washington DC Branch and The Flight Safety Foundation, June 24, 2014. Washington, DC.

    Moderator, “The Evolving Legal Landscape for Unmanned Aircraft Systems,” ABA Forum on Air and Space Law Annual Meeting and Conference, Sept. 18-19, 2014. Montreal, Canada.

    Lecturer, “Global Aviation Accident Investigations and MH 370,” McGill University Aviation Management Programme, May 23, 2014. Montreal, Canada.

    Moderator, “Criminalization of Aviation Accidents,” European Air Law Association 9th Munich Liability Seminar, May 19, 2014. Munich, Germany.

    Moderator, “Integration of Autonomous Systems: Technology & Policy Challenges,” Virginia Tech Conference on Unmanned Aircraft Systems, May 11, 2014. Arlington, VA.

    Opening Keynote Address, “Crises Management and MH 370,” Aviation Lawyers Association of Australia and New Zealand 33rd Annual Conference, May 7-9, 2014. Melbourne, Australia.

    Speaker, “Global Accident Investigations,” American University Washington College of Law Aviation Law Conference, Mar 26, 2014. Washington, DC.

    Moderator, “Aviation Workforce of Tomorrow: Recruiting, Retaining and Developing the Next Generation of Aviation Professionals,” 21st Annual Aircraft Owners and Operators Forum, Mar 6-7, 2014. Scottsdale, AZ.

    Speaker, “A Global Future for a Global Climate Change Solution,” IATA Legal Symposium 2014, Feb. 23-25, 2014. San Francisco, CA.

    Speaker, “Emerging Liability Issues in International Aviation,” McGill University International Aviation Liability and Insurance Conference, Oct. 25-26, 2013. Montreal, Canada.

    Speaker, “Crises Management and Accident Investigation,” Bombardier Aerospace Legal Forum 2013, Oct. 16-18, 2013. Montreal, Canada.

    Lecturer, “Anatomy of a Disaster: Crisis Management and Protecting Safety Information,” McGill Institute Air and Space Law, Oct. 15, 2013. Montreal, Canada.

    Moderator/Panelist, “Public-Private Partnerships in Aviation,” ABA Forum on Air and Space Law Annual Meeting, Sept. 27-28, 2013. New York, NY.

    Speaker, “Regulatory Responses: Security and Consumer Protection Regulations,” McGill University and ICAO Conference on Facilitating Air Transport: Passengers, Cargo, Technology and Profitability Sept. 21-22, 2013. Montreal, Canada.

    Moderator, “Aircraft Accident Investigations,” IATA Legal Conference, Sept. 8-10, 2013. Sao Paulo, Brazil.

    Speaker, “The importance of regulating safety data protection policies,” Fourth Pan American Aviation Safety Summit presented by the ICAO Regional Aviation Safety Group - Pan America (RASG-PA) in partnership with the Latin American and Caribbean Air Transport Association (ALTA) June 25-26, 2013. San Jose, Costa Rica.

    Speaker, “Crisis Management/Disaster Preparedness,” 25th Annual General Counsel Conference, Corporate Counsel, June 5-6, 2013. New York, NY.

    Panelist, “Non-Citizen Trusts Update: Why They Are Important; The Various Areas NCTs Impact,” 20th Annual Aircraft Transactions Forum, Mar. 4-5, 2013. Scottsdale, AZ.

    Moderator, “Better Safe Than Sorry: The Case for Robust Safety Information Protection Rules,” IATA Legal Symposium, Feb. 17-19, 2013. Berlin, Germany.

    Speaker, “Safety Information Protection in ICAO, Legislatures, and the Courtroom,” 65th Annual International Air Safety Seminar, Flight Safety Foundation, Oct. 23-25, 2012. Santiago, Chile.

    Moderator, “Europe’s Emissions Trading Scheme: Conflict or Compromise?” Royal Aeronautical Society, International Aviation Club, June 20, 2012. Washington, DC.

    Speaker, “The Revamping of Airline Passenger Protection Rules,” State Bar of Texas Annual Meeting, June 14-15, 2012. Houston, TX.

    Speaker, “The Current and Future Regulatory Environment of the Air Transport Industry,” Sabre Airline Solutions Executive Advisory Board Meeting, Apr. 24-27, 2012. Washington, DC.

    Panelist, “Recent Developments in Aviation Liability and Insurance,” McGill University Institute on Air and Space Law Annual Conference on Aviation Liability and Insurance, Apr. 19-21, 2012. London, England.

    Panelist, “Just Culture,” Aviation Law Association of Australia and New Zealand Annual Conference, Apr. 1-3, 2012. Queenstown, New Zealand.

    Panelist, “Non-Citizen Trusts: FAA & Private Sector Approaches,” 19th Annual Aircraft Transactions Forum, Feb. 27-28, 2012. Scottsdale, AZ.

    Moderator, “Airline Passenger Protection: A Bumpy Ride Ahead?,” Webinar co-sponsored by the ABA Forum on Air and Space Law, International Aviation Club, and Pillsbury, Nov. 30, 2011. Washington, DC.

    Moderator, “Global Competition Law,” ABA Forum on Air and Space Law Annual Meeting, Sept. 22-23, 2011. Montreal, Canada.

    Introductory Remarks, “Protecting Aviation Safety Information,” Annual Conference on International Aviation Liability and Insurance, McGill University Institute of Air and Space Law, May 6-7, 2011. Montreal, Canada.

    Panelist, “The Challenges of the Judicial Investigation in Aviation Accidents,” ICAO-COPAC, International Safety Seminar, Mar. 24-25, 2011. Madrid, Spain.

    Instructor, “Aviation Law: The Concorde Accident,” 2011 National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Aviation Seminar, Johnson Space Center. Houston, TX.

    Moderator, "Safety Protocols: Can We Ever Build a New Airplane?” Annual Update Conference, ABA Forum on Air and Space Law, Feb. 23, 2011. Washington, DC.

    Interviewer, “Conversations with Aviation Leaders: John Byerly, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Transportation Affairs,” DePaul International Aviation Law Institute, Oct. 8, 2010. Chicago, IL.

    Moderator, "The Cost Crisis: How Will the Airline Industry Recover?" Third International Civil Aviation/McGill University Institute of Air and Space Law, Pre-Assembly Conference, Sept. 26-27, 2010. Montreal, Canada.

    Panelist, “Airline Consolidation,” 10th Beaumont International Aviation Conference, June 23-24, 2010. London, England.

    Panelist, “Specific Jurisdiction: The Issues Surrounding Choice of Law in Foreign Crashes/Incidents,” American Conference Institute’s 2nd Annual Forum on Defending and Managing Aviation Litigation, June 22-23, 2010. Boston, MA.

    Moderator, “Airlines Financial Health and Trends in Liberalization, Foreign Ownership, Alliances, and Antitrust,” 30th Annual New York Airfinance Conference, Apr. 26-27, 2010. New York, NY.

    Speaker, "Protecting the Integrity of Accident Investigations," 22nd Annual European Aviation Safety Seminar, Mar. 15-17, 2010. Lisbon, Portugal.

    Moderator, "Open Skies-Alliances and Competition," ABA Forum on Air and Space Law Annual Meeting, Sept. 24-25, 2009. Chicago, IL.

    Moderator, "A Moot Court Argument on Wallace v. Korean Air," Aviation Liability and Insurance, McGill University Institute of Air and Space Law, Oct. 29-31, 2009. Montreal, Canada.

    Speaker, “Criminalization of Aviation Accidents,” National Air Transportation Association 2009 Air Charter Summit, June 9, 2009. Chantilly, VA.

    Panelist, “The Criminalization of Aviation Accidents,” Flight Safety Foundation’s 54th Corporate Aviation Safety Seminar, Apr. 21-23, 2009. Orlando, FL.

    Moderator, “Moving on from Open Skies—Consolidation and the New Shape of Airlines,” 29th Annual New York Airfinance Conference, Apr. 20-21, 2009. New York, NY.

    Moderator, “Mergers and Alliances in the Airline Industry,” ABA Section of Antitrust Law Mergers Committee/Transportation Industry Committee, Feb. 18, 2009. Washington, DC.

    Panelist, “The Criminalization of Civil Aviation: A Global Perspective," Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s 20th Anniversary Aviation Law and Insurance Symposium, Jan. 7-9, 2009. Orlando, FL.

    Moderator, “Safety, CEOs and the Law – Problem or Partnership?” Eurocontrol’s Safety Culture Conference, Dec. 17-18, 2008. Rome, Italy.

    Panelist, “The Challenge of Criminalization,” NTSB’s CAC Workshop, Nov. 5-6, 2008. Ashburn, VA.

    Panelist, “The Criminalization of Aviation Accidents,” Flight Safety Foundation’s 61st Annual International Air Safety Seminar (IASS), Oct. 27-30, 2008. Honolulu, HI.

    Moderator, "Market-Based Remedies to Airport Congestion: Helpful or Harmful?" Webinar, ABA Form on Air and Space Law, Oct. 10, 2008. Washington, DC.

    Panelist, “The Legal Debate and Zoning," FAA’s Competition for the Sky, Sept. 29 – Oct. 2, 2008. Las Vegas, NV.

    Moderator, “Global Antitrust and Competition Law,” ABA Forum on Air and Space Law Annual Meeting, Sept. 18-19, 2008. Montréal, Canada. Panelist, “Data-Sharing in the Spotlight,” 54th Annual Air Safety and Security Forum, Airline Pilots Association (ALPA), Aug. 13-14, 2008. Washington, DC.

    Panelist, “The ‘Just Culture’ – Criminal Liability and Safety,” 9th Beaumont International Aviation Conference, June 25-26, 2008. London, England.

    Panelist, "Tackling the Issues that LCCs Face," Low Cost Airlines World Americas, June 17-19, 2008. Coral Gables, FL.

    Moderator, “Breaking Down Barriers to Global Capital Investment and Ownership,” 28th Annual New York Airfinance Conference, Apr. 21-22, 2008. New York, NY.

    Moderator, "Criminalization of Aviation Accidents," European Aviation Safety Seminar, Mar. 10-12, 2008. Bucharest, Romania.

    Panelist, "Managing Scarce Airport Resources: Slots, Secondary Trading, Auctions, Congestion Pricing, and the Schedules Conferences," Feb. 10-12, 2008. Buenos Aires, Argentina.

    Panelist, "Dealing with Airport Congestion and Delays," 2008 AAAE Aviation Issues Conference Agenda, Jan. 6-8, 2008. Kona, HI.

    Moderator, "Change in the Airline Industry - New Entrants, Mergers, Competition, and Consolidation," ABA Forum on Air and Space Law Annual Meeting, Oct. 4-5, 2007. Memphis, TN.

    Panelist, "Claims Handling Developments around the Word," Munich Liability Seminar of the European Air Law Association, Sept. 21, 2007. Munich, Germany.

    Panelist, "Blacklisting of Airlines and Airports Based on Safety and Security Concerns," ICAO and McGill Institute of Air and Space Law, Worldwide Conference, Sept. 15-16, 2007. Montreal, Canada.

    Co-Chair, 27th Annual New York Air Finance Conference. Speaker: "Legal View: Liberalizing Airline Ownership and Control to Drive Growth," Apr. 23-24, 2007. New York, NY.

    Moderator, "International Opportunities, International Challenges," ABA Forum on Air and Space Law, Update Conference, Feb. 1, 2007. Washington, DC.

    District of Columbia
    J.D., DePaul University College of Law, 1985
    with honors, Editor, DePaul Law Review; Editor, A.S.I.L.S. International Law Journal
    B.S., Finance, Northern Illinois University, 1982

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