Flytenow, Inc. v. FAA Decision: Flight-Sharing Requires FAA Part 119 Certification

Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP

On December 18, 2015, the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals decided the case Flytenow, Inc. v. F.A.A. Flytenow, Inc. is a web-based service that allows private pilots to offer their planned itineraries to all website members. Members can accompany the pilot if they are willing to share the pilots' expenses as alleged to be authorized pursuant to the private pilot cost sharing exemption found in the Federal Aviation Regulations (FARs), 14 C.F.R.§ 61.113(c). Shortly after it began operating in 2014, Flytenow requested a legal interpretation from the FAA regarding compliance with the Federal Aviation Act of 1958 (now codified as the Transportation Code ("Code") and the FARs. In a Letter Interpretation, the FAA responded to Flytenow's request and determined that participating pilots would be considered common carriers and thus subject to certification as commercial operators under FAR Part 119. Flytenow then appealed the Letter Interpretation. The court upheld the FAA's Letter Interpretation.

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