Aviation & Asset Finance

Legal, Tax and Corporate Administration

As one of Ireland's largest law firms, William Fry offers unrivalled legal, tax and corporate administration expertise across the full breadth of the aviation and asset finance sector. 

Our team advises banks, airlines, leasing companies, manufacturers, export credit agencies, funds, arrangers and lenders on a number of domestic and cross-border transportation, infrastructure, asset financings, including securitisations of aircraft lease portfolios and the establishment of aircraft leasing and joint venture companies in Ireland.

William Fry has the largest tax group of all of the Irish law firms and has the advantage of being the only Irish member of TAXAND which has a network of members in 50 different countries. This provides our clients with a unique tax service which is complimentary to the global nature of the aviation industry, our worldwide client base, and bolsters the aviation team’s position as a truly international service provider. This is unparalleled in the Irish legal and tax firms and we are unique in this regard.

The team has acted on high profile aviation transactions such as:

  • Societe Generale and others on the financing and refinancing of a portfolio of nine H135 helicopters and 1 Bell 429 helicopter for IRIS Helicopter Leasing Limited. 
  • The Korea Development Bank, KDB Asia Limited, KDB Ireland and KEB Hana Bank, in respect of the financing of a portfolio of 5 aircraft for ALAFCO.
  • HSBC in their role as lead arranger relating to a US$ 300,000,000 bond issuance secured by a portfolio of aircraft owned and leased by BoComm Leasing's Irish subsidiaries. 
  • Ping An's Irish subsidiaries in relation to its lease and financing arrangements relating to four (4) aircraft to be placed on lease to Vietjet.
  • Credit Agricole as senior lender, facility agent, security trustee and arranger in respect of the refinancing of a portfolio of aircraft for the Minsheng and its subsidiaries.
  • International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG) in relating to its €1.4bn takeover offer for Aer Lingus. This is the biggest ever aviation transaction relating to an Irish airline and the largest involving a European carrier in the last decade.
  • Goldman Sachs as lead arranger on a US$583,370,000 aircraft-backed securitisation.
  • DVB Bank as lender and security trustee on aircraft portfolio refinancings for Minsheng and BoCom.
  • Deutsche Bank as lender on an aircraft portfolio financing for CDB Leasing.
  • Refinancing of a portfolio of Alitalia aircraft.
  • KDB's financing of the initial deliveries of CALC's 100 aircraft order.
  • Advising Airbus on a Chinese joint venture arrangement.
  • Refinancing a portfolio of aircraft for CDB Leasing Co. Ltd.
  • Credit Agricole's financing of a portfolio of aircraft for Avation Group plc.
  • KDB's financing of a portfolio of 5 aircraft for ALAFCO.
  • BNP's financing of 8 aircraft for ASL.
  • AerDragon on a sale and release of four (4) Airbus aircraft.
  • Lloyds, Barclays, Sumitomo and Lombard in relation to a $335m facility and leasing of three (3) AW139 helicopters, one (1) Sikorsky S-92 helicopter, three (3) EC225 helicopters,  and the subsequent refinancing and sale of Milestone Aviation Group to GECAS.
  • CityJet in relation to its aircraft financing and leasing arrangements as a result of its sale.
  • CDB Leasing on the purchase of five (5) aircraft on a sale and leaseback basis.
  • Deutsche Bank, Tokyo on the financing of two (2) Boeing aircraft acquired by a Japanese lessor.
  • Deutsche Bank, Singapore on the sale of two (2) Boeing aircraft by CDB Leasing.
  • DVB Bank on the purchase of three (3) 737-800 aircraft which was structured through BoCom’s Irish subsidiary, JY Aviation.
  • Shanghai Pudong Development Bank on the financing of one (1) A321 aircraft for CALC.

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Aviation & Asset Finance

  • Clients include international and domestic aircraft leasing companies and banks, and "extremely knowledgeable" practice head David Maughan has extensive experience advising financial institutions in the aviation sector on the refinancing of Chinese lessor portfolios. The "excellent" Mary Ward is also a key contact. In addition, the firm offers corporate administration services to aircraft leasing operations in Ireland. Legal 500 2020
  • David Maughan leads the team at William Fry, which stands out for its 'strong legal and market knowledge'. The practice is strong in the aviation sector: Maughan and the 'very astute' Mary Ward. Legal 500 2019
  • David is consistently ranked in all leading global legal directories including Legal 500 EMEA and Chambers Global.
  • David Maughan heads the practice at William Fry, which has ‘excellent knowledge’ of aircraft finance and also recently finalised International Airlines Group’s takeover of Aer Lingus. Legal 500 EMEA, 2017
  • The ‘simply excellent’ team at William Fry has a growing profile in aviation finance, and was instructed in the extremely high-profile and politically sensitive takeover of Aer Lingus by IAG. David Maughan heads the practice. Legal 500 EMEA, 2016


  • William Fry's Tax team have been described as "professional, well informed and forward thinking" as well as being a "responsive and partner-led tax practice issuing practical advice." One client notes that the team has an abundance of "knowledge, experience, professionalism and the ability to apply lateral thinking and multi solutions." Another client adds that they have "an excellent range of tax knowledge both locally and internationally." They are very "responsive and helpful, and we fully trust the advice that we receive."  Legal 500 2020
  • There's a real broadness, a client states "You can talk to one person who has a legal, tax and international perspective all in one".  Other sources appreciate the client-centric service provided by team members: "We've got a great relationship with the team and we find them to be very effective. They really demonstrate their commitment to client service". ​Chamber Europe 2019  
  • "William Fry's commitment to client service is excellent", says one source, who also praises "their real breadth of knowledge and willingness to allocate the people required when there is a need for a quick turnaround." Another reports that the "technical depth, exposure and experience of the senior team set them apart." Chambers Europe 2018
  • "Sources assert that "from a technical perspective they are clear and direct." Interviewees also value the team's "responsiveness to client needs and commercial awareness." Chambers Europe 2017
  • William Fry’s practice includes Sonya Manzor, who ‘devises well-thought-out tax strategies’ for clients such as King Digital Entertainment. International tax specialist Shane Wallace recently handled various real estate tax structuring and transfer pricing issues. Legal 500 EMEA 2017
  • "The firm is very responsive and has great resources, including access to a global network of tax advisers, which benefits us internationally and is a fantastic asset. The firm's ability to provide both legal and tax advice really ensures everything fits together.Chambers Europe 2016
  • Martin Phelan leads a ‘highly professional’ team at William Fry. It advised the Department of Finance on the potential capital restructuring and sale of its 99% investment in Allied Irish Bank, and also assisted IAG and EirGen Pharma. The group also has a significant private client practice and notable property expertise. . Legal 500 EMEA 2016


David Maughan 

  • David has been ranked in both Chambers Europe 2020 and Chambers Global 2020. Clients especially highlight him for his "excellent technical skills and strong commercial understanding of the aviation sector." Another client said that David "provides hands-on, pragmatic and on-the-point advice."
  • According to Legal 500 2020, David is "extremely knowledgeable and always has a practical solution to problems encountered" and "provides excellent commercial advice."
  • One interviewee describes him as "very good - she knows her stuff and understands the technicalities."  Chambers Europe 2019 
  • One source notes he is"very good, he knows his stuff and is very approachable."Chambers Global 2019 
  • Clients describe David Maughan as "very effective and knowledgeable." He advises on aircraft repackaging programmes, debt and equity investments and securitisation transactions. Chambers Global 2018
  • "William Fry’s ‘impressive’ team covers a full range of public and private debt issuances and is led by David Maughan, who has ‘a positive, can-do approach’." Legal 500 2018
  • “David was excellent in walking us through the process of listing, dealing with the Irish stock exchange and getting the deal across the line in a tight deadline. His knowledge of capital markets structures was very valuable.” IFLR 1000 2018
  • Clients say that David Maughan is "very approachable, responsive, easy to worth with, commercial and pragmatic." Chambers Global 2017
  • David Maughan takes an “excellent commercial approach”. IFLR 1000 2017 
  • Clients describe David as a "prominent aviation lawyer" who can "tailor his advice to the needs of the project."  Sources add: "His advice is top-notch and easy to digest. His communication is strong, and you can rely on his local knowledge." Chambers Europe 2016

Martin Phelan

  • According to  Legal 500 2020"Martin Phelan is the top tax adviser in Ireland. Martin’s straight-talking, honest approach ensures that he is a go-to individual for any advice. Martin is an incredible resource." Another client adds that he is a "stand out Partner" and one of their " most valued business partners." 
  • Martin is described by market commentators as "technically superb and grounded in the basics."  Chambers Europe 2020
  • Martin is a highly experienced tax consultant who is best known for his expertise in international tax. "He's very bright," explains one satisfied client, elaborating: "It's his pragmatic solutions and ability to look beyond the immediate problems, even to give warnings ahead of time. We are able to run things by him and he's very accessible, which we find very helpful." Chambers Europe 2019
  • Martin receives praise from his clients for "ensuring a blend of a technical and practical approach which is very digestible to the client and is easy to implement as a result." He is well known in the market for his international tax expertise. Chambers Europe 2018 
  • Martin Phelan International tax specialist Martin Phelan is described as a "top guy" and "very switched-on." Chambers Europe 2017

Mary Ward

  • Mary has been described by clients as "a delight to work with. She is dedicated, knowledgeable and accessible even during ASEAN time zones." as well as "providing helpful and timely responses around the clock." Another client adds that Mary "is an excellent partner and knows her points well. She is able to give legal yet commercially sound advice." Legal 500 2020
  • "Extremely knowledgeable with hands on approach to work and is very easy to work with." IFLR1000 2020
  • "Mary Ward is fantastic...she is very informative, extremely by the book, wants everything to be as particular as it can be and makes sure you’re informed as you can be." Chambers Europe 2020
  • Mary Ward stands out for her work on structured aviation deals, earning her a place in the rankings. One satisfied client states "She is highly responsive and puts across ideas in a straightforward manner that is easy to understand." Chambers Global 2020
  • One client states Mary has "great attention to detail and solid technical understanding." IFLR 1000 2017

Key Contacts

David Maughan Partner

Mary Ward Partner