It is anticipated that the advanced air mobility (AAM) sector will revolutionize air transportation in the coming years, and there is a pressing need to act now to understand the legislative, regulatory and infrastructure needs of this emergent technology.
Reed Smith has been at the forefront of providing legal advice and guidance on drones, eVTOLs and other unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) since 2015. Our AAM team includes highly regarded lawyers, ranked in various leading international directories and trade publications, who have extensive experience in aviation and new transportation technologies. We routinely advise clients in relation to a broad range of aviation work, including aircraft finance, trading and leasing transactions (and their restructuring) as well as aviation sector-specific litigation and enforcement action, M&A, joint ventures, regulatory issues and intellectual property matters. As a result of this, we are now routinely engaged by participants in the AAM sector, providing legal support in respect of matters involving aircraft assets, MRO and retrofitting facilities and services, electric charging and refueling infrastructure for alternative propulsion, air traffic control technology and more. Our team of AAM professionals includes lawyers in the U.S., Europe and Asia and, uniquely among leading aviation law firms, a former adviser on policy and regulatory matters at the U.S. Department of Transportation in its Federal Aviation Administration.
Due to our experience of negotiating and advising on cutting-edge transactions, clients often ask us to help formulate strategies that align with the developing body of laws relating to AAM and UAS, working with disruptive and innovative market players in the sector. Early stage companies routinely seek us out to advise them on how best to leverage their technology and grow quickly in a fast-changing global environment, while more established market participants work with us to help them adapt their approach toward this new technology and to changing consumer demands.
In addition to counselling clients and facilitating transactions, we are often engaged where there is a dispute. Aviation litigation presents distinct challenges, where a company’s reputation for safety and reliability can be on the line. This calls for counsel with specialized technical knowledge that can hit the ground running. Our team – which includes lawyers that are licensed commercial pilots – not only has trial experience in complex aviation litigation, but is particularly knowledgeable in the field of aeronautics and familiar with the key technical, regulatory and legal issues involved. We serve as counsel for airlines and aviation manufacturers in the defense of all types of complex litigation claims, ranging from commercial disputes, to wrongful death and property damage cases. We also counsel aircraft and component products manufacturers in the defense of high-profile product liability claims stemming from mid-air collisions, weather-related crashes, stall/spin accidents and other equipment failures. Our team has handled cases involving virtually every aircraft system.
Our recent representative experience in the AAM sector spans four continents, and includes acting for a global technology company in its investment in an eVTOL aircraft developer, advising on a joint venture for a new eVTOL venture and the associated purchase agreements, acting for a U.S. investor in a JV with a last-mile delivery partner, establishing eVTOL and vertiport infrastructure in emerging markets, counselling manufacturers and operators on regulatory implementation and “patchwork” questions, and acting on SPAC, de-SPAC and PIPE investments and combinations. We have also acted for stakeholders in the drone industry, including advising a global logistics company regarding its drone delivery program and “last mile” logistics.
We can assist AAM clients on all legal issues involved in the lifecycle of AAM assets, including:
- Financing and leasing transactions
- Corporate matters
- Regulatory advice spanning certification, importation and export of component parts and raw materials
- Technology law
- Intellectual property
- Strategic advice