Debt-laden airplane leasing giant has bankruptcy stopover in Richmond

Nordic Aviation filing for bankruptcy in Richmond

One of the planes on Nordic Aviation Capital’s website. The airplane leasing giant is seeking bankruptcy protection in Richmond. (Screenshot)

By way of Ireland, one of the world’s largest aircraft leasing companies has touched down in Richmond as it seeks bankruptcy protection.

Nordic Aviation Capital, which owns a fleet of hundreds of airplanes that it leases to national and regional airlines globally, filed for Chapter 11 reorganization in Richmond’s federal court over the weekend.

Saddled with more than $6 billion in debt, it’s at least the ninth big out-of-town corporation to bring its complex bankruptcy filing to Richmond since the pandemic began. The local federal courthouse has a reputation as a venue favorable to large debtors and bankruptcy rules allow companies to file in virtually any district in which they conduct business.

Other recent filings here include retailers such as Paper Source, Guitar Center, J. Crew and Pier 1 Imports, along with Luxembourg-based telecom giant Intelsat and radio station giant Alpha Media.

Such cases keep local attorneys busy for often years at a time. In this case, Michael Condyles and Peter Barrett of law firm Kutak Rock landed the often coveted role of local counsel, working on behalf of lead bankruptcy firm Kirkland & Ellis.

The federal courthouse in Richmond where the Nordic Aviation Capital bankruptcy case will be decided.

Other firms landing work in the case thus far include Whiteford Taylor Preston, and Woods Rogers.

The Nordic Aviation case includes more than 100 entities being put into Chapter 11. The filing will allow the company to continue operations while restructuring that debt load with its creditors.

The company, which touts itself as the world’s fifth largest aircraft leasing company, has a fleet of more than 500 aircraft used by airlines such as Air Canada, British Airways and dozens more.

The company said upon exiting from bankruptcy it will be majority owned by its two largest creditors, which according to media reports are Silver Point Capital and Sculptor Capital Management.

Initial hearings in the case are to be held today. The bulk of bankruptcy hearings are taking place virtually due to the pandemic.

Judge Kevin Huennekens is presiding over the case.

Ernst & Young is Nordic Aviation’s restructuring adviser. Rothschild & Co. is its investment banker.

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Michael Dodson
Michael Dodson
1 month ago

I love the idea that they get to file in Richmond cause they do “business” in the district. Where?? They are US based in Florida, no major or minor carriers leasing their planes are even Virginia based, and Breeze along some little Florida/Caribbean regional jet carrier are their only US based clients they have (unless AreoMexico and AirCanada moved to US). 90% of their fleet is leased to overseas airlines. I guess that since Breeze blew into Richmond they have a connection here??