Aero Law Group: Navigating the Challenges of Aircraft Acquisition and Ownership in China
“Our mission is to provide the highest quality transactional legal services to airlines and aircraft owners and operators – worldwide. We’re a team. No matter what the circumstance, our expertise is combined for the right solution for our clients.”
~ John Schmidt, Attorney, Aero Law Group
John Schmidt joined the Aero Law Group in 2004. His practice includes aircraft and international business transactions.
Prior to joining the firm, Mr. Schmidt spent 17 years at Boeing where he spent several years negotiating aircraft sales contracts with airlines across Europe. He also has experience negotiating commercial contracts with various foreign governments, including Russia, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia and Brunei.
Mr. Schmidt received his law degree from the University of Washington in 1985. In 1986, Mr. Schmidt was a guest lecturer in international law at Jiao Tong University in Shanghai, China. He speaks Russian and German.
Mr. Schmidt currently serves on the Board of the Foundation for Russian-American Economic Cooperation in Seattle and is a past member of the Board of Directors of the International Research and Exchange Organization in Washington, D.C. and the Seattle World Affairs Council. In 2001 he was chosen as a Fellow of the World Affairs Council.
Mr. Schmidt is a member of the Washington State Bar Association and the American Bar Association.
Q: Tell us about Aero Law Group’s specialty.
A: Aero Law Group is a specialized aviation transactions law firm based in Bellevue, Washington. The firm’s mission is to provide the highest quality transactional legal services to airlines and aircraft owners and operators – worldwide.
Its seven professionals have over 150 years of combined experience in the aviation industry negotiating all types of purchase and sale agreements, loan and lease documents, support and maintenance agreements and VIP completion agreements for all sizes of commercial and corporate aircraft – ranging from single engine piston aircraft to 747s.
In total, Aero Law Group professionals have bought, sold or delivered over 3,500 aircraft. Two of our professionals are even multi-engine rated pilots. The firm represents over 400 clients on six continents. These clients range from commercial airlines and leasing companies to Fortune 500 companies to high net worth individuals and their companies.
Q: Do you see opportunities for your business in China?
A: The market for corporate and commercial aircraft is expanding rapidly in China. The Chinese corporate aircraft market alone is forecast to reach $21 billion over the next ten years.
Q: You have teamed up with the Dacheng Law Firm recently, haven’t you?
A: Yes. Our firms have teamed up to provide seamless support to Chinese clients engaging in international cross-border aircraft-related transactions. The Dacheng Law Firm is the largest law firm in China with over 3,000 professionals working in 43 offices throughout the world; 36 of those offices are in China.
This new initiative was introduced in Shanghai in March 2012 at the Asian Business Aircraft Convention and Exhibition (ABACE). Both firms expect that clients will value the benefits that this combined representation can bring in effectively navigating the challenges of aircraft acquisition and ownership in China.
These two firms have the combined expertise to deal with all aspects of any international aircraft-related transaction. That is everything from acquisition, lease, financing or other transaction to all issues related to any importation and operation of an aircraft inside of China, such as tax, importation, regulatory, management, maintenance and operation issues.
This initiative is coming just as the market for corporate and commercial aircraft is expanding rapidly in China. Together Aero Law Group and the Dacheng Law Firm are uniquely positioned to support the growth of this dynamic market.
Q: How does being located in Bellevue contribute to your company’s success?
A: Bellevue and the Seattle metropolitan area has been a center of the aviation industry for decades. This is due to Boeing and the entire ecosystem related to aerospace technology and sales. However, it not just that. It is also that there is so much professional talent located here; the expertise and business connections are high quality.