John Steel QC appointed Chairman of the Air League


John-Steel-QCJohn is recognised as a leading practitioner in aviation, aerospace, planning, transport and environmental law. John was for a number of years the honorary legal adviser to The Air League and was appointed Chairman of the Air League and Board of trustees in December 2017.

As a Barrister his clients include airports, airlines, aerospace companies, major utilities and industrial companies in the UK and elsewhere, as well as banks, insurers, Government departments and agencies, local authorities, NGOs and individuals. He has been involved in some of the leading cases in matters such as major airport development, aviation law, planning and environmental law, noise and key infrastructure projects including new roads, motorways, railways, tramways, ports, guided busways, power stations and waste to energy plants.

In aviation and aerospace, high-profile cases have included the development of London Heathrow, London Gatwick and London Stansted airports, as well as the development and use of regional and other airports at London Luton, Birmingham, Bournemouth, Coventry, Farnborough, London Oxford, Biggin Hill, Southend, Newcastle, East Midlands, Liverpool John Lennon, Sheffield, RAF Northolt, Dunsfold, Fairoaks, Plymouth, and a number of smaller General Aviation aerodromes and proposed heliports. He is the joint author of one of the key papers submitted to the Davies Commission on UK Airport Capacity in 2014 and has been appointed the legal adviser to the All Party Parliamentary Group on General Aviation in the UK Parliament.

John is a well-known senior practitioner probably uniquely with detailed knowledge of the design, workings and regulation of airports and aerospace both in the civil/airline as well as military/defence sectors, involving the UK CAA, Ministry of Defence, Department for Transport, NATS, Eurocontrol, EASA, ICAO, airport operators and airlines, on the use and regulation of airports and aircraft, including the three dimensional aspects of air traffic control, radar, aircraft safety and accidents, airport design and surface access.

He has represented and advised or been involved with major international and other airlines both in the courts, at public inquiries and in government commissions and consultations. He has been a contributor on behalf of the airline industry to aviation policy documents including the UK Aviation and Airport Policy published by the UK Government.

Clients have included various Airport Operators and Authorities, Airlines and Aircraft Operators, Cargo Operators and Aviation and Aerospace Organisations and Companies including BAA, British Airways, BMI, BAE Systems, Farnborough International, Cathay Pacific, Dragonair, Low Cost Airlines including Ryanair and EasyJet, Flybe, TAG Aviation, Gama Aviation, Hangar 8, BBGA, and AOPA. Private individuals have included the Reuben Brothers, Dial Partners, banks and other airport owners, investors and operators.

John has been elected a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society, a member of the Aviation Club of the UK, with affiliation to the Aerospace Forum Asia, The Aero Club of Washington and The International Aviation Club, also in Washington.

His practical knowledge as an instrument rated fixed wing (aeroplane) pilot, a qualified rotary (helicopter) pilot, and his regular flying both in the UK and abroad is an invaluable addition to his skills when involved in aviation and aerospace matters professionally.

He trained as a scientist with a degree in Honours Chemistry with subsidiary computing, and holds qualifications in law and international arbitration. He is an Honorary Fellow of Law at his University at Durham, UK, was appointed to the Advisory Board of Durham Law School, the Durham Global Security Institute and sits as a Recorder/Judge in the Crown and County Courts of England and Wales.


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