Aviation Law Committee Chair’s speech for 2022

Friday 25 March 2022

Serap Zuvin
Cakmak Law, Istanbul

IBA Aviation Law Committee

As Chair of the Aviation Law Committee of the IBA (the ‘Committee’), it gives me great pleasure to greet you all and share with you our accomplishments from last year and our plans for this forthcoming year. I am pleased to inform you that 2021 was a fantastic year for our Committee.

Firstly, a special thanks to our Immediate Past Chair, Alan Reitzfeld, who joined us for our monthly Committee meetings throughout 2021. His dedication to the Committee and support to individual Officers was inspirational. Alan will continue as a member of our select Advisory Board, together with other former Chairs of this Committee.

Further, I would like to express my sincere thanks to our fellow Committee Officers for their sense of dedication, enthusiasm and hard work throughout the previous year. These Officers and the roles they occupy remain a critical part of the functioning of our committee and therefore, I would like to call them out individually: Brenda Nichols (Vice Chair), Linda Lee (Secretary), Gerard Melling (Treasurer), Jeanette Pinard (Publications Officer), Ben Graham-Evans (Website Officer), Anna Masutti (Membership Officer), Ajay Kumar (Conference Quality Officer), Jenny Urban (Corporate Counsel Liaison) and Neil Montgomery (Diversity and Inclusion Officer).

2021: a year in review

With the global pandemic continuing into its second year, 2021 remained another challenging year for all professionals in the legal sector, both on the professional and personal levels. As foreshadowed in our prior year announcement, we were able to facilitate a number of webinars with prominent speakers, virtual roundtables and interesting topics, including our first Members’ Meet & Greet. We were also able to hold joint virtual sessions with other committees of the IBA, which created further synergy among groups and drew in a broader audience to our Committee sessions. Here is a recap of 2021:

  • We held our first Members’ Meet & Greet session on 29 July with Nick Allman, the Chief Operating Officer of Hybrid Air Vehicles (manufacturer of Airlanders), who spoke to the technology of hybrid airships.
  • We also held a second Members’ Meet & Greet on 30 November with Agustin Ojea Quintana, Legal Director and Compliance Officer of Flybondi, as keynote speaker.
  • We held a joint webinar with the Maritime and Transportation Committee on 6 October on Asset Financing in the Transportation Industry. It was such a well-attended and successful event that we are now in discussions to hold another joint event with the same committee this year.
  • On 7 October, our Committee co-sponsored a Hot Topics in Aviation event, held by the New York City Bar Association and New Jersey State Bar Association. At this event, US Congresswoman Rebecca Michelle ‘Mikie’ Sherrill as keynote speaker led the discussions along with many prominent lawyers from the aviation world on a diverse and interesting range of topics relating to the aviation space.
  • Committee membership levels during 2021 increased by 21 new members.
  • We have published seven new articles in our newsletter.
  • Our Committee website has been updated to include photos of Committee Officers and Members out and about at IBA sponsored events.

What is waiting for us in 2022?

Looking at the year ahead, the Committee will continue to hold virtual roundtable discussions and webinars with relevant and up-to-date topics impacting the industry. We will also seek out joint sessions with other committees, with the belief that it will create further synergy and attract a broader audience to our conference sessions.

  • On 14 March, we held a joint webinar with the Mediation Committee of the IBA on Mediation on Aviation Related Disputes.
  • We plan to hold at least two Meet & Greet Meetings with our Committee members this year. The first one is scheduled for 12 April 2022 with Lucy England, Partner at Fox Williams LLP, based in London, leading the discussion on Digitalisation in Aviation.
  • In April, we will be contributing to the webinar of New York City Bar Association Aeronautics Committee by holding a Q&A with Ayse Akcan, Deputy Chief Legal Officer of Turkish Airlines on the effects of Covid 19 on aircraft financing.
  • In fall, our Committee will again be co-sponsoring, along with the New York City Bar Association Aeronautics Committee and New Jersey State Bar Association, a Hot Topics in Aviation event.
  • We will look to hold a meeting with the Advisory Board of our Committee to draw on their skills and experience to help further progress the aims of the Committee.
  • We will continue publishing our newsletter, with great contributors of the aviation world, discussing topics of interest in different practice groups of aviation. We believe that this publication is an important means of useful networking among aviation lawyers.
  • Our Committee has agreed to offer the IBA Annual Conference Scholarship Program to young lawyers aged 35 and under.

Further, the Committee has exciting plans for the Annual Conference in Miami including the following tentative topics:

(i) Monday 31 October 2022, 09:30-10:45 ’Global trends in aviation financing and leasing – Covid-19 repercussions, Cape Town, etc.’;

(ii) Tuesday 1 November 2022, 16:15-17:30 ‘The path to sustainable aviation’ (joint event with the Maritime and Transportation Committee); and

(iii) Wednesday 2 November 2022, 14:30-15:45 ‘Trends in aviation litigation – insurance issues, jurisdiction, MAX and other major casualties, pre-emption update’.

The Annual Conference is anticipated to be in-person but depending on the Covid situation, this may change.

Please reach out to me or to the other Committee Officers if you have any comments or thoughts on Committee activities. Active involvement of our Committee Members is very important to us.

In the meantime, please keep safe and healthy and we very much look forward to meeting you at a future date, either virtually or in person.

Best regards,

Serap Zuvin

Chair, IBA Aviation Law Committee