Tom has a well-developed practice covering both non-contentious and contentious aviation work, with a particular expertise in regulatory and commercial issues including airline licensing, ownership and control issues, traffic rights and aviation consumer law. He has considerable experience in airport slot trading, including having acted for British Airways in its purchase of Monarch’s entire Gatwick slot portfolio following the latter's entry into administration.
Tom additionally represents various airlines, MROs and other aviation stakeholders in a range of multi-jurisdictional contentious matters (insured and uninsured), including aircraft purchase and leasing disputes, passenger, baggage and cargo claims, subrogated actions and debt recovery proceedings.
He also advises various stakeholders regarding the development, operation and insurance of unmanned aircraft systems, and sits on the firm's Global Drones Strategy Group.
Tom won a Euromoney Legal Media Group Europe Rising Stars Award in 2020 in the Aviation category. Tom has also been identified as a "Next Generation Lawyer" by Legal 500 (2019, 2018), is recognised in Expert Guides' 'Rising Stars' guide (2016-2019) and is ranked in the Aviation Regulatory category by Who's Who Legal (2019).
Tom regularly speaks on the international air law conference circuit and is co-editor of "Getting the Deal Through - Air Transport".
Significant matters Tom has acted on include:
Regulatory and commercial
- Acting for air carriers in numerous airport slot exchange transactions, including for British Airways Plc in its purchase from the administrators of Monarch Airlines Ltd of Monarch's entire slot portfolio at Gatwick Airport (2017) and for Flybe in its sale of its Gatwick slot portfolio to easyJet (2013);
- Advising air carriers, airports and other aviation stakeholders regarding Brexit risk and assisting in the development of associated contingency measures to safeguard market access;
- Advising air carriers on compliance with nationality of ownership and control requirements under EU law and bilateral air services agreements, including the provision of associated structuring advice;
- Advising on airline start-up issues, including operating licence, AOC and route licence applications and the procurement of airport slots;
- Advising on the interrelation between EU Regulation 95/93 on airport slots and domestic environmental legislation;
- Advising air carriers on disruptive passenger handling and the development of associated policies and procedures;
- Drafting airline conditions of carriage, AWB conditions, charter brokerage terms, PRM policies, airport conditions of use, parts trading terms and aircraft maintenance agreements;
- Drafting and negotiating charter, wet lease, codeshare and frequent flyer participation agreements;
- Advising on the development of a web-based aircraft charter platform;
- Advising a variety of stakeholders regarding the development, operation and insurance of unmanned aircraft systems, including consideration of ground damage liability, privacy, data protection, radio spectrum, minimum insurance requirements and insurance policy wordings;
- Advising on the sale and marketing of package holiday products and linked travel arrangements;
- Contributing to an EU Commission study on the possible conclusion of an air transport agreement between the EU and 10 ASEAN States;
- Contributing to a study for the African Development Bank on the establishment of a single aviation market in Africa and implementation of the Yamoussoukro Decision;
- Contributing to an EU Commission study on the possible conclusion of an air transport agreement between the EU and six Gulf Cooperation Council States.
- Representing a European air carrier in relation to Court of Justice of the European Union proceedings regarding the availability of 6th freedom traffic rights under the European Common Aviation Area Agreement;
- Representing an Australasian air carrier regarding multi-jurisdictional liability issues arising out of a high profile mid-flight pitch-down event;
- Advising an Asian air carrier regarding liabilities issues arising out of a mid-flight medical emergency;
- Drafting numerous complex aircraft hull release, claims cooperation and sharing agreements in the context of major insured aviation liability claims;
- Successfully pursuing a subrogated claim against an MRO following the constructive total loss of an aircraft as a result of paint stripping damage;
- Advising various commercial air carriers regarding aircraft and engine sale and purchase, lease and maintenance disputes;
- Managing a portfolio of multi-jurisdictional debt recovery claims for a major MRO;
- Advising IATA regarding its intervention in the Reg.261/2004 case of Gahan v Emirates before the English Court of Appeal;
- Defending various air carriers against claims for denied boarding, cancellation and delay under Regulation (EC) 261/2004;
- Representing air carriers and their insurers in numerous attritional aviation liability claims with respect to personal injury, baggage and cargo loss/damage.