BA in-housers raise £600m with plane mortgages from GE Capital

British Airways (BA) was advised in-house when it mortgaged part of its aircraft fleet to raise £600m. The company mortgaged 26 planes, 22 of which were mortgaged to GE Capital.
GE Capital has a strong relationship with BA and has been used on previous financings. It was advised by longstanding adviser Clifford Chance.
According to sources, the move is testament to the company's determination to avoid a discounted rights issue. However, it may not be seen in a favourable light with bondholders who were anticipating that the company would sell shares to reduce the debt.
BA's main adviser is Slaughter and May, but it is likely that the company is looking to cut its legal spend given the downturn in the industry following the 11 September attacks. One way to cut legal spend is to bring more legal work in-house, although BA in-house lawyer Peter Watson denied that the move was strategic.
BA operates a strict panel which consists of Slaughters, Wragge & Co and Andersen Legal. It uses Osborne Clarke and Denton Wilde Sapte for employment, Bristows for intellectual property and IT, and Beaumont and Son for aviation.
The company appointed Addleshaw Booth & Co to the panel in December in a bid to increase the competition between the existing panel firms.
The week before last, BA announced the loss of a further 5,800 jobs. It also presented a review aimed at increasing profitability by £650m over two years, which includes a partial retreat from Gatwick airport and the closure of loss-making routes.
BA is also trying to deepen its relationship with American Airlines through a code-sharing deal. Previous plans for a formal alliance were abandoned following opposition from the US authorities.