Pillsbury’s Aviation Finance practice has been recognized in Airfinance Journal’s 2020 Global Awards for transactions closed last year. The practice played a key role on three “Deal of the Year” Awards for the Used Aircraft, ABS and Africa deal categories.

The three pioneering 2020 aviation finance deals for which Pillsbury was honored are:

  • Used Aircraft Deal of the Year: Altavair / KKR $600 Million Warehouse Facility

Led by partner Mark Lessard and counsel Cecilia Wang, Pillsbury acted for BNP Paribas, Citibank, MUFG and Societe Generale in connection with a $600 million blind pool warehouse facility for Altitude Holdings, a leasing vehicle owned by KKR and serviced by Altavair. The facility closed in late December 2019 and added 17 aircraft from the period of February-April during peak COVID times when the borrower struck an opportune sale-leaseback deal with Delta Air Lines for six (6) A321NEO aircraft.

  • ABS Deal of the Year: Willis Engine Structured Trust V $366 Million ABS

Led by partners Mark Lessard and Joseph Fastiggi, Pillsbury acted for BofA Securities, Inc., MUFG Securities Americas Inc. and Wells Fargo Securities, LLC as underwriters in connection with the $366.2 million Willis Engine Structured Trust V (WEST V) fixed rates notes. The notes will be secured by WEST V’s direct and indirect interests in a portfolio of 50 aircraft engines.  This successful issuance was the last ABS deal to close in 2020 before the pandemic roiled aviation capital markets. 

  • Africa Deal of the Year: TAAG Angola Airlines $145 Million Commercial Loan

This transaction was the first Pre-Delivery and Delivery Financing for TAAG Angolan Airlines to acquire a fleet of six Dash 8-400 aircraft from de Havilland Canada after Longview Aviation Capital acquired it from Bombardier. Led by partner Paul Jebely, Pillsbury acted as counsel for ABSA Bank, as lead arranger and lender for both transactions.  The Delivery Financing is one of the first in the market involving a state guarantee by the Republic of Angola and supported by African Export-Import Bank as joint mandated lead manager and lender. Read more here.

Named by Chambers & Partners as one of the world’s leading aviation finance firms and voted 2020 Aviation Law Firm of the Year by Airline Economics, Pillsbury has in recent years assisted clients in the acquisition, financing or refinancing of hundreds of commercial and corporate aircraft and spare aircraft engines across the entire debt and equity product range. Pillsbury’s Asset Finance team also has significant experience with locomotives, fleets of land-based vehicles, mining equipment and other capital assets, such as floating drilling rigs, satellites, drones, and telecommunications and manufacturing equipment. Read more here.