The international transportation industry is facing an increasing regulatory burden in every subsector, and our European Transport Group has extensive experience in advising on EU regulatory aspects of complex transactions in the maritime and aviation sectors in particular.

The liberalisation and deregulation of air services since the 1980s has led to national flag carriers facing new challenges from independent carriers and low cost operators. The response has been the creation of global umbrella alliances (Oneworld, STAR and SkyTeam) as well as intense operational cooperation between airlines such as code sharing. EU regulators are actively monitoring and intervening to enforce EU competition rules. Our team has been involved in many of the leading EU cases.

In the maritime sector, the end of Shipping Conferences in 2008 has led to increased competition and EU regulatory activity. Global alliances have been formed and the Commission has been vigorously enforcing compliance. Our team has advised and defended liner and bulk shipping operators in these recent EU investigations and consultations on new EU legislation.

Our lawyers have a wide range of expertise from providing routine competition compliance advice to defending clients in investigations by EU or UK regulators. Our client base consists of international shipping companies, ferry companies, global and low cost airlines as well as industry associations.

Much of our work is of an international nature for clients based across Europe, the US and Asia-Pacific. Our integrated international offices allow us to offer a multi-jurisdictional capability a our global outlook.


Notable deals / highlights


  • Advised airlines on Alliances (Oneworld and STAR), highly integrated "metal neutral" revenue sharing and capacity sharing joint ventures, code share agreements, interlining and frequent flyer programmes.
  • Advised on ground handling and other airport services, including access to fuel farms.

  • Advised on agreements with computer reservation system providers.

  • Advised on state aids to the aviation sector.

  • Advised to air cargo operators.

  • Acted on mergers and acquisitions, including nationality ownership conditions.

  • Assisted with Staff Compliance programmes.

  • Advised on alliances and joint ventures.

  • Assisted on aviation¬†regulations, including ATOL and emissions compliance.


  • Advised on joint ventures in the liner and tanker sectors, including Consortia subject to Regulation 906/2009.

  • Advised on compliance with EU competition law of consortia operations, including joint terminal negotiations, joint purchasing on feeder services and inland transport.

  • Advised on Pool agreements.

  • Delivered defence litigation support for shipping companies in EU cartel investigations.

  • Advised to ferry operators on cross-channel services.

  • Provided litigation assistance before EU courts.

  • Advised on civil damages actions against shipping companies accused of cartel behaviour.

  • Assisted with Staff Compliance programmes.

Expertise spotlight