Supreme Court Declines Flytenow Review (Updated)

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The Supreme Court has taken a look at the Flytenow case to decide if a lower court’s interpretation of the law was correct, and on Monday they announced their decision — the Court will not hear the case. That decision leaves in place a lower court’s ruling that it would be illegal for Flytenow to operate a web-based flightsharing service for private pilots. The company decided to shut down over a year ago, after an appeals court in the District of Columbia also upheld the FAA’s position that pilots who used the site would be engaged in “common carriage.” Matt Voska, a co-founder of Flytenow, said on Monday that several members of Congress, led by U.S. Rep. Mark Sanford of South Carolina, have sponsored legislation that would explicitly authorize internet-facilitated flight cost-sharing.

“We are disappointed with the Court’s decision this morning and we will be continuing our efforts in Congress to overturn the FAA’s ban on online flight sharing,” Voska said. Jon Riches, general counsel for the Goldwater Institute, who represented Flytenow in its appeal, said the Supreme Court missed an opportunity today to correct an error made by the FAA and lower courts. “What’s more, the Court could have offered direction to lower courts that protects the First Amendment rights of people using other sharing economy platforms, like Uber and Airbnb,” Voska said.”Hopefully the FAA will reverse its position on this issue, and hopefully the Court will decide in another case to examine the important constitutional issues raised.” The Supreme Court justices offered no comments on the case.