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Donald G. Gray

Chair, Aviation & Aerospace Group
Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP

Donald is Chair of Blakes Aviation and Aerospace Group, and head of Blakes’ international aircraft finance practice based in Toronto.  He advises a number of aircraft and engine lessors, financiers, manufacturers, and domestic and international airlines on aircraft finance and aviation commercial and regulatory law matters.  Donald has considerable airline industry experience, including as vice-president and general counsel of an international charter airline, an Air Canada regional connector and an international cargo carrier. He also served as vice-president, maintenance and engineering, for the airline group.  Donald is an active aircraft owner and IFR (instrument flight rules) rated pilot. He holds Canadian, U.S. and South African aviation documents. Donald was a Canadian delegate to the Unidroit/ICAO sessions, which prepared the Cape Town Convention on International Interests in Aircraft. He was also a member of the drafting group in Rome and chair of the insolvency group in Montréal that prepared the final insolvency provisions. Donald has served as chair of the Legal Advisory Panel of the Aviation Working Group (AWG). He co-ordinated the Canadian airlines advisory submissions to the Government of Canada in respect of the 2010/11 Aircraft Sector Understanding (ASU) OECD negotiations.  Donald is a member of the Legal Affairs Committee of the Air Transport Association of Canada, the Section on Business Law/Aircraft Financing Subcommittee and Forum on Air and Space Law/Aircraft Finance and Contracts Division of the American Bar Association, the National Air and Space Section of the Canadian Bar Association, the Aeronautical Law Section of the International Bar Association and the Ontario Bar Association. He is also a member of the International Society of Transport Aircraft Trading and was invited by Transport Canada Aviation to join the Canadian Aviation Regulation Advisory Council.  Donald has been recognized as a leading lawyer in the following publications: Chambers Canada: Canada’s Leading Lawyers for Business (Band 1); Chambers Global: The World’s Leading Lawyers for Business (Band 1); IFLR1000: The Guide to the World’s Leading Financial Law Firms; The Best Lawyers in Canada; Legal 500 Canada; Who's Who Legal Series (one of top 30 aircraft finance lawyers in the world); and The Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory. Donald was awarded Global Lawyer of the Year for Transport - Aviation Finance by Who’s Who Legal in 2017. According to Who's Who Legal 2017, Donald is “one of the best-regarded aviation finance lawyers in North America”. Donald is listed in several Who's Who Legal (WWL) publications in 2018, such as Who's Who Legal Thought Leaders, Who's Who Legal Aviation: Finance, and Who's Who Legal Canada – Aviation. In the 2018 edition of Who's Who Legal Canada – Aviation, WWL commented that Donald is “the top lawyer for aviation finance matters in Canada”. Donald has been recognized as the top aviation expert in Canada in Legal Media Group’s The Best of the Best since 2011.

 

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