Recognized by Chambers USA as a leading aviation lawyer, Pillsbury partner Charles Donley’s wide-ranging practice encompasses aviation regulatory and commercial matters, counseling and litigation.

Leader of Pillsbury’s Aviation, Aerospace & Transportation and Unmanned Aircraft Systems practice teams, Charles’ global aviation clients include airlines, manufacturers, service providers, airports, tour operators, trade groups, aircraft brokers and foreign governments. He handles licensing, enforcement and operating matters; sale and lease transactions; joint alliance and marketing agreements; negotiation of commercial agreements; and litigation of government and commercial claims. Charles regularly appears before the DOT, FAA, NTSB, Department of State, Department of Homeland Security (CBP and TSA), Department of Agriculture, and state and local agencies. He also prosecutes and defends aviation-related claims and disputes.

Representative Experience

Counsels and represents Asian, Latin American and European airlines in codesharing, bilateral, safety oversight and commercial and antitrust issues related to U.S. operations and strategic alliances involving major U.S. carriers.

Represented Chinese-foreign joint venture carriers before the U.S. DOT, FAA, CBP and TSA in obtaining all approvals to operate to the United States.

Advised a group of Latin American airlines in submitting an antitrust immunity application to the DOT in conjunction with a major U.S. carrier.

Professional Highlights

Recognized by Chambers USA, Aviation Regulatory (2016-2017).

Noted in Who’s Who Legal Transport (2016).

Profiled as a key member of Pillsbury’s Latin Lawyer 250-ranked practice in the region.


  • J.D., University of Illinois College of Law, 1988

    A.B., Cornell University, 1982
    Phi Beta Kappa


  • District of Columbia


  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit