January/February 2023 - 39
AUTHOR Alison Squiccimarro, Paul Grocki
Aircraft Liens 101
A FIXED-BASE operator (FBO) or a maintenance, repair and overhaul provider (MRO)
that provides materials, fuel, and/or services (such as maintenance, hangar, tiedown,
etc.) to an aircraft owner may have the legal right to assert a lien against the aircraft
if the customer fails to pay for the materials or services.
The purpose of this article is to educate potential lienholders
on some of the issues that they will encounter
should they elect to exercise their right to place a lien
on an aircraft. Lienholders who are most knowledgeable
on the requirements for exercising lawful lien rights can
most effectively protect their investment in the work and
materials and minimize their risks.
Can you lien a customer's aircraft when they are
delinquent on rent or fail to pay for services? Maybe.
The answer depends on a number of variables, including:
(i) what state you are located in; (ii) what the outstanding
sums due to you are for; (iii) whether you have possession
of the aircraft, (iv) the amount of the lien; and (v) whether
you have a written agreement with the aircraft owner.
First, consider whether your state has a statute that
allows for liens specific to aircraft. This could be a specific
statute like that of Connecticut (C.G.S. §49-92g), Florida
(Fla. Stat. §329.51), Texas (Tex. Prop. Code §70.302),
New Mexico (N.M. Stat. Ann. §48-3-29), Oklahoma (42
Okl. St. §91A), California (Cal Code Civ Proc §1208.61),
Idaho (Id. Code §45-1102), and North Carolina (N.C.
Code § 44A-55), which have statutes that specifically
apply to aircraft. In other states, the right to lien an
aircraft could be included within a broader statute that
includes mechanics liens. In New York, for instance, the
right to lien an aircraft is included in a statute protecting
the bailee of motor vehicles, motor boats and aircraft.
See N.Y. CLS Lien §184. In Maine, the right to lien an
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Alison L. Squiccimarro is an attorney with the Law
Offices of Paul A. Lange, LLC with offices in New York
and Connecticut. Squiccimarro's nationwide practice
focuses on aviation related commercial litigation with an
emphasis on FAA and DOT regulatory issues, airports,
insurance coverage and employment matters.
aircraft is covered in a broader mechanics lien statute
that protects those who perform labor and materials for
storage and repair of vehicles, aircraft and parachutes.
See 10 M.R.S. §3801.
Does the applicable statute provide you with a
basis to exert a lien? Once you find the law that applies
to asserting a lien against an aircraft, you need to consider
whether you have a basis for asserting a lien under
that law. Does the statute provide you with a basis to lien
the aircraft? Some states like Connecticut and California
provide for aircraft liens to protect those that store, care for,
maintain, or provide services or fuel. California and New
Jersey's aircraft lien statutes provide for a lien based upon
non-payment of landing fees. See Cal. Code Civ. Proc.
§1208.61 and N.J. Stat. §2A:44-2. California, however,
exempts air carriers and foreign air carriers from its aircraft
lien provisions. See Cal. Code Civ. Proc. §1208.70. Other
states, like Florida, limit the application of liens to labor,
services, fuel, or materials.
Are you required to have a written contract in
order to effectuate a lien on an aircraft? It depends on
the jurisdiction. In Idaho, the labor, skill or materials giving
rise to the lien must be performed pursuant to a written
agreement. See Id. Code §45-1102(2)(d). Contrast that with
New York, where a written agreement is not required, but
if you provided a written quote for the materials or services,
then the lien cannot exceed the amount of the quote. See
N.Y. CLS Lien §184.
Are you timely exercising your right to a lien?
Assuming you have a basis to file a lien, you next need
to consider whether you are timely in asserting the lien.
In Maine, for example, you must exercise your right to a
lien within 90 days from rendering the materials or labor.
See 10 M.R.S. §3801. Failure to timely exercise your
right to a lien could preclude you from relying upon this
remedy to protect your interest. Therefore, it is best to
timely consider lien options in advance of your potential
need to rely upon same.
JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2023 \ AVIATIONPROS.COM / 39
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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of January/February 2023
Inside the Fence
Airports Make Capacity a Top Issue in 2023
Airport Business 2023 Projects of the Year
Integrated Sink Puts Hand Hygiene Entirely within Reach
What to Expect for Kansas City International Airport’s New Terminal
Built for Success
Project of the Month: Collaboration Key to JAC’s Improved Water Collection Process
After the Emergency: What’s Next?
January/February 2023 - 1
January/February 2023 - 2
January/February 2023 - 3
January/February 2023 - 4
January/February 2023 - Inside the Fence
January/February 2023 - 6
January/February 2023 - 7
January/February 2023 - Airports Make Capacity a Top Issue in 2023
January/February 2023 - 9
January/February 2023 - Airport Business 2023 Projects of the Year
January/February 2023 - 11
January/February 2023 - 12
January/February 2023 - 13
January/February 2023 - 14
January/February 2023 - 15
January/February 2023 - 16
January/February 2023 - 17
January/February 2023 - 18
January/February 2023 - 19
January/February 2023 - 20
January/February 2023 - 21
January/February 2023 - 22
January/February 2023 - 23
January/February 2023 - Equipment Matters
January/February 2023 - 25
January/February 2023 - Integrated Sink Puts Hand Hygiene Entirely within Reach
January/February 2023 - 27
January/February 2023 - What to Expect for Kansas City International Airport’s New Terminal
January/February 2023 - 29
January/February 2023 - 30
January/February 2023 - 31
January/February 2023 - Built for Success
January/February 2023 - 33
January/February 2023 - Project of the Month: Collaboration Key to JAC’s Improved Water Collection Process
January/February 2023 - 35
January/February 2023 - 36
January/February 2023 - Airport Guru
January/February 2023 - 38
January/February 2023 - Legal Matters
January/February 2023 - 40
January/February 2023 - After the Emergency: What’s Next?
January/February 2023 - 42
January/February 2023 - 43
January/February 2023 - 44