Flytenow Sues FAA Over Flight-Sharing Site


Flytenow, a startup online business that wants to match empty seats in general aviation aircraft with passengers who would share the costs, has sued the FAA over its statement that the practice would violate FARs. “This is a classic case of government overreaction to new technologies and innovative ideas,” said Jon Riches, a lawyer at the Goldwater Institute, a nonprofit group that promotes free-market economics. The institute, which is representing Flytenow in its suit against the FAA, argues in its news release, issued on Tuesday, that the FAA’s decision “violates the First Amendment and Due Process rights” of the company.

The Institute says it believes the FAA’s rules are “unconstitutionally vague because it cannot provide legally-required ‘fair warning’ of what communication activities of private expense-sharing pilots are allowed or not.” Riches said: “Instead of updating regulations to reflect the way Americans communicate today, the FAA is stifling innovation and silencing pilots who want to use the Internet to communicate their travel plans.” In its interpretation of the regulations, issued last August in response to a request from AirPooler, a similar flight-sharing startup, the FAA said for a general aviation pilot to post flights online would constitute “holding out,” that is, making a public offer to transport people for compensation.