Donley, Charles F.

Charles F. Donley


Charles Donley leads the firm’s Aviation practice. His work for clients is focused on the representation of US-based and non-US based airlines as well as aviation industry manufacturers and service providers, tour operators, airports, airline trade groups, travel agent industry associations, aircraft brokers and foreign governments. Charles is listed in Chambers USA as one of the leading aviation attorneys in the United States.

Charles represents clients before the Department of Transportation, Federal Aviation Administration, Department of State and National Transportation Safety Board, in addition to various state and local agencies. He has extensive experience in aviation licensing, enforcement and operating matters, and frequently provides advice to senior client management on issues involving codesharing, international route authority, bilateral negotiations, foreign investment, strategic alliances and partnering agreements, aviation safety and security, and the regulatory aspects of commercial and general aviation aircraft registration, ownership and leasing. Charles also represents clients before the Department of Homeland Security (including CBP and the TSA) and the Department of Agriculture in obtaining operating clearances, as well as in cases involving enforcement and penalty issues.

Charles’ experience is not limited to regulatory representation. He has considerable experience in counseling aviation industry clients in a wide variety of commercial matters, including commercial and business jet sale and lease agreements, airline alliances and joint marketing agreements, fractional ownership programs, crew leasing and training agreements, airport and facility use agreements, equipment maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) contracts, work-out agreements, aircraft handling and servicing agreements, advertising and publicity agreements, licensing and confidentiality agreements, and service mark and trademark use and protection. He commonly assists clients in developing negotiating strategies and goals and in interpreting existing and proposed contractual obligations.

Charles also represents US and international clients nationwide in litigation involving governmental, commercial and personal claims. He is experienced in defending against actions brought by government regulators, as well as in prosecuting and defending cases involving cargo loss or damage, application of tariffs, claims under the Warsaw Convention, personal injuries, and commercial disputes with vendors, equipment lessors, aircraft handling and servicing companies and travel agencies.

Charles has special expertise in representing new and existing passenger and cargo airlines in Asia and Latin America. Charles has secured operating approvals for numerous passenger and cargo airline joint ventures in Asia, and has also obtained approvals for Asia- and South America-based carriers to operate in the United States under wet lease arrangements, perform charter operations, and codeshare with US and non-US carriers.




  • University of Illinois, J.D., 1988
  • Cornell University, A.B., Phi Beta Kappa, 1982


  • District of Columbia, 1988


  • U.S. Ct. of App., District of Columbia Circuit

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