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Understanding aircraft liens: The basics

On Behalf of | Nov 28, 2023 | Aviation

Aircraft mechanic’s liens are consequential legal resources which help to ensure that mechanics, fuel providers and repair facilities are compensated for their services performed on aircraft. 

According to Texas law, “A person who stores, fuels, repairs, or performs maintenance work on an aircraft has a lien on the aircraft for:

  • The amount due under a contract for the storage, fuel, repairs, or maintenance work;  or
  • If no amount is specified by contract, the reasonable and usual compensation for the storage, fuel, repairs, or maintenance work.”

Additionally, “A holder of a lien… may retain possession of the aircraft subject to the lien until the amount due is paid.” 

What does this mean, practically speaking?

An aircraft mechanic’s lien is a legal claim against an aircraft for unpaid repair or maintenance services. When a mechanic or repair facility performs work on an aircraft and doesn’t receive payment, they can place a lien on the aircraft. This lien must be properly filed and recorded before it becomes enforceable.

When a lien is placed on an aircraft, it essentially becomes a claim against the title of the aircraft. This means that the aircraft cannot be legally sold, transferred or sometimes even flown until the lien is resolved or paid off. The lien ensures that mechanics and fuel providers have a form of security for the services they provide.

For mechanics and repair facilities, mechanic’s liens are a powerful tool to ensure payment. However, it’s important to follow the proper legal procedures when filing a lien. Incorrectly filing a lien can lead to legal challenges and potential financial losses. As a result, it is generally a good idea to seek legal guidance as soon as it becomes apparent that filing a lien is necessary. 

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