U.S. Supreme Court Declines to Hear Flytenow Case
Washington, DC, January 10, 2017 – Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear a case requested by attorneys representing the online application Flytenow to overturn lower court decisions in support of the FAA’s legal interpretation that pilots using its online flight-sharing website are likely in violation of the agency’s common carriage requirements. The following is a statement from NATA President Martin H. Hiller:
“As we anticipated, the Supreme Court did not grant cert in this matter because it is neither a novel question of law nor are there any disputes between the lower courts as to the FAA’s interpretation of the Flytenow model. In fact, the Flytenow application is nothing more than old wine in a new bottle. As the lower courts demonstrated, neither internet freedom nor the expansion of the share-economy are at risk. Consistent with previous attempts to offer the same service using telephone-based technology, the FAA determined the Flytenow service establishes private pilots as common carriers and therefore requires additional safety certifications for both the pilots and their aircraft.
Contrary to Flytenow’s assertions, the FAA ruling does not impact how pilots communicate with friends and family who may join them for an expense sharing flight. The Supreme Court’s decision upholds FAA’s safety assessment that pilots who offer to transport the general public for money are required to have additional flying experience and safety training.
If past is precedent, we expect that Flytenow attorneys will pursue their ‘smoke and mirrors’ strategy up on Capitol Hill in an attempt to carve out a loophole exempting flight services advertised to the general public on their website from the robust safety oversight system that Congress and the public demand from commercial air transportation providers. It is simply not acceptable to allow the general public to 'ride-share' with private pilots who have potentially little flight time or training for challenging weather conditions. NATA will continue to educate lawmakers on the Flytenow model and the risks it poses to the safety and security of the flying public.”
NATA, the voice of aviation business for more than 75 years, is the public policy group representing the interests of aviation businesses before Congress and the federal agencies.