Philip’s aviation expertise can be viewed below. Please refer to his main profile for details of his expertise in other areas of law.
Philip has specialized in aviation law since 1985 including insurance, product liability, finance and leasing, EC competition and regulation, air accidents, carriage by air, arrest of aircraft, CAA and regulatory issues, aircraft sales and purchase transactions. Philip has substantial experience of cases concerning the effect of sanctions on commercial contracts, particularly on finance and operating leases. He has appeared in many major aviation case in the past 30 years most recently AF 447, MH 370 and Ethiopian Airlines v Honeywell. He is currently working on litigation concerning the leasing of a fleet of helicopters to a Colombian operator and leasing dispute relating to a fleet of Sukhoi Superjet 100s.
Philip specialises in claims relating to civil and military helicopters including product liability, insurance, accidents and financing. Philip has recently given seminars in London and Dublin on the 737 Max crisis and its impact for lessors and lessees. He acted for the owners and pilot in the accident in which Matthew Harding the Vice Chair of Chelsea FC and all on board lost their lives for Bristow Helicopters in accidents in the North Sea and related product liability claims. Philip has unparalleled experience in acting for lessors and lessees and was counsel in the leading case as to how English law interprets aircraft operating leases, ACG v Olympic Airlines.
In 2019, Legal 500 ranked Philip in Tier 1 for Aviation ‘He offers pragmatic advice, while still providing a detailed knowledge of the law.’ Chambers and Partners 2019 also rank Philip in Band 1 for Aviation ‘A market-leading expert known for his thoroughgoing sector focus and formidable courtroom demeanour. He is regularly instructed by premier aviation firms in high-profile cases related to leasing and product liability disputes, and is active on headlining cases concerning the loss of aircraft. He is a regular speaker and contributor at industry conferences and seminars, and is outstanding for aviation work.’
Long recommended by Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners in this area, Philip has acted as counsel in nearly all the significant aviation and travel cases in recent years:
- Recently succeeded in obtaining and continuing a Freezing Order in a claim concerning the enforcement of a London arbitration award in a dispute concerning the leasing of a fleet of helicopters to a Colombian operator.
- Recently involved in a case concerning the due diligence condition precedent in the standard AVN 1 C aviation hull and liability policy.
- Currently instructed on case concerning title to three regional aircraft involving three jurisdictions and their applicable regulations
- Olympic Airlines liquidation: Philip was acting for the liquidator of Olympic Airlines.
- Travelworld Vacations Ltd v Monarch Airlines Ltd: The claimant asserted that an implied umbrella contract prevented Monarch Airlines from withdrawing from negotiations and declining to enter into further seasonal contracts. Philip succeeded in persuading the Commercial Court that the necessity test, required in cases of implied contract, had not been satisfied.
- In Credit Suisse A.G. v Arabian Aircraft & Equipment Leasing Co EC and others  EWCA Civ 1169 Philip acted for the successful appellants in the Court of Appeal in a case where the appellants had been given only conditional leave to defend even though the Respondent applied for summary judgment on a basis that had not been pleaded. The case concerned a finance lease that provided for a number of different remedies in the event of default by the lessee including a procedure for valuation of the aircraft concerned by the lessor appointing 3 expert valuers to determine the fair market value. Having pleaded one basis for the assessment of damages the Court of Appeal unanimously held that it was not permissible for the Respondent to advance a different basis that had neither been implemented so as to determine fair market value or pleaded.
- ACG Acquisition XX LLC v Olympic Airlines  EWHC 1070 (Comm): This is the first case to examine in detail the structure and construction of aircraft operating leases and the respective rights and obligations of lessor and lessee when the aircraft in question was not airworthy at delivery. Olympic Airways were granted leave on 30th July 2012 to appeal to the Court of Appeal.
- Jet2.com Ltd v Blackpool Airport Ltd  EWHC 1529 (Comm): Philip acted with Adam Cloherty for Jet2.com Ltd and obtained a judgment successfully proving breach of contract by Blackpool Airport for unilaterally ceasing to accommodate flights outside normal hours.
- (1) Mahan Air (2) Blue Sky Airways Company FZE v Blue Sky One Ltd & Ors 2011 EWCA Civ 544: the court can still impose conditions even after leave to appeal has been granted. In arguing against an order for security for costs, a party must make full and frank disclosure of all its lines of finance – direct, shareholders, ability to raise credit etc.
- Blue Sky One Ltd & Ors v Blue Airways LLC/PK Airfinance US Inc v Blue Sky Two Ltd & Ors  EWHC 3344 (Comm): Dispute concerning a series of transactions that made B747 aircraft available to an Iranian airline under a structure which was aimed at avoiding breach of US sanctions against Iran. The case considered whether there were trusts of the aircraft and the validity of back-dated bills of sale. A Blue Sky case note is available.
- Blue Sky One Ltd & Ors v Mahan Air  EWHC 631: Having won the liability trial the second phase concerned complex damages and set off issues and if the aircraft not delivered up the owners were entitled to market value of aircraft or some lesser measure and whether damages were to be reduced on the basis that contracts were frustrated by US sanctions and whether the mortgages over the B747 aircraft were effective by applying the lex situs or the lex registrii and whether the doctrine of renvoi could be invoked.
- ACG Acquisition XX LLC v Olympic Airlines SA  EWHC 923 (Comm)(Hamblen J) 24/4/2010: Philip successfully defended an application by the Claimant for summary judgment in respect of unpaid rent. The court held that (a) the Claimant could not rely upon a signed certificate of acceptance to preclude the Defendant from maintaining a claim. Clear words would be required (b) the failure by the Claimant to deliver the aircraft in airworthy condition was fundamental. The Defendant had a good arguable case that there had been total failure of consideration or alternatively that the fundamental failure went straight to the heart of the Claimant’s claim for rent.
- Sunrock Aircraft Corporation -v- SAS  AER 153/  EWCA Civ 882: This was a dispute concerning return conditions under a series of operating leases. The Court of Appeal held that the defendant airline was not responsible under its lease with the claimant for the diminution in value of the life-limited parts of an aircraft’s engine and for two scab patches that had occurred on the fuselage.
- Ryan Air v SR Technics (2006): £12m case for Ryanair aganst SR Technics, the former maintenance arm of Swissair, who managed to cause serious damage to 10 Ryanair aircraft. They used the wrong tools when scraping out sealant before re-painting, thereby damaging large parts of the airframe. Some aircraft are complete write offs.
- Manufacturers Life Insurance Corporation -v- Employers Reinsurance Corporation 2004: Aviation Carve out reinsurance – dispute as to coverage and construction of Lloyds slip retrocession policy
- Bristow Helicopters Ltd -v- Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation and 46 0thers 2004 EWHC 401 (Comm): Claim for declaration of non liability by carrier against passenger and crew dependants of 11 persons killed in helicopter accident preventing them from suing in the USA – held by the Court to be an entirely legitimate tool to fix the timing and venue of potential trans-national litigation
- Air Foyle Ltd -v- Center Capital Ltd  2 Lloyds Rep 428: Dispute as to ownership of Russian registered Antonov 124-100 cargo aircraft Validity of competing titles under Russian and Dutch law and whether the lex situs or the lex registrii should apply.
- Laura Leasing Ltd -v- British Aerospace Airbus Plc and Aircraft Braking Systems Inc : Claim for $21m cost of repairs of A340-300 after crash landing at Heathrow due to landing gear failure when torque pin falls out of ABS braking system after take off from Los Angeles.
- Amiri Flight Authority -v- BAE Systems Plc & Crossair  1 Lloyd’s Rep: Microbiological contamination of aircraft fuel leading to corrosion of BAE 146-100 wings – whether manufacturers owe duty of care to maintainers
- Glen & Ors -v- Korean Airlines Company Ltd  QB 1386: Crash of Boeing 747 cargo aircraft on to village near end of Stansted runway -whether damages for psychiatric Injuries recoverable for ground victims under s76 Civil Aviation Act 1982
- Asia Sat-v- Lloyds underwriters 2002: Satellite insurance extent of recovery available for launch damage of telecoms satellite – whether loss of profit recoverable
- Western Digital Corporation v British Airways  QB 733: Leading case on who can sue the carrier – whether carrier liable only to parties named in air waybill -ingredients of notice of claim under Warsaw Convention
- Messier Dowty Ltd -v- Sabena SA 2001 1 AER 275: $50m product liability claim arising out of collapse of undercarriage on landing of Airbus aircraft at Brussels The leading case on negative declarations and the circumstances where a party domiciled in another Member State can be joined in English proceedings applying Article 6 of the Brussels Convention. Review of the law in relation to negative declarations in cases involving jurisdiction disputes.
- Nugent and Killick -v- Michael Goss Aviation  2 Lloyd’s Rep 222: Whether action brought in England by carrier seeking declarations that any liability was to be determined in England applying English law under the Private International Law Act 1995 against dependants of passengers and crew killed in an accident who may otherwise have brought proceedings in the USA was properly brought – whether prospect of higher damages for dependants in USA justifiable or amounted to forum shopping. Helicopter crash involving the death of Mathew Harding director of Chelsea F.C. claim for £59 m – largest ever made in the UK – wilful misconduct action against pilot successfully struck out and liability limited to £80,000. Claimants petition to House of Lords dismissed. Leading case on Article 25 of the Warsaw Convention.
- The Secretary of State For The Environment, Transport & The Regions v The International Air Transport Association  1 Lloyd’s Reports: Acting for the Secretary of State in challenge by IATA to legality of EC directive removing limits of Warsaw Convention for EC carriers, including possible referral to European Court.
- Applied Implant Technology -v- Lufthansa  2 Lloyd’s Rep 46: Warsaw Convention – computation of liability limit – whether weight of all packages to be taken into account under Article 22(2) (b).
- Association of British Travel Agents -v- British Airways, Virgin and Lufthansa  2 Lloyd’s Rep 209: Acting on behalf of over 7000 of U.K.’s travel agents. Attempt by airlines to change agents’ commission arrangements in respect of passenger service charge successfully declared unlawful on construction of standard IATA contracts.
- Danae Air Transport SA -v- Air Canada 2000 1 WLR 395: claim for damages on wrongful termination of IATA General Sales Agency
- Sidhu v British Airways  Appeal Cases 430. House of Lords: The leading case establishing the exclusivity of Warsaw Convention as a cause of action. Instructed on behalf of B.A.