The Federal Aviation Authority has shoved an idea for "Uber for planes" back into the hangar. Yesterday, it ruled that it has banned pilots from "publicly offering seats on their planes in exchange for [fuel] money," reports TechCrunch. That puts US startups like AirPooler and FlyteNow in a legal bind since they were offering ride-sharing services.
AirPooler has itself to blame since it asked the FAA for legal clarification to see if their company is operating legally. It was using a 1963 proposal that lets pilots ask passengers if they want to split expenses for fuel. Before these companies grew in popularity, it wasn't uncommon for pilots to seek passengers on bulletin boards at small airports. That is now illegal too.
TechCrunch explains the ruling:
The new FAA ruling deems any kind of cost-sharing as compensation for the private pilots, whether they use old school means or a website to list their seats. It's currently illegal to compensate private pilots unless they get a tough-to-attain certificate from the government to operate as an air carrier.
So, unless the pilots who use AirPooler and FlyteNow obtain a certain type of certificate, they can't operate. AirPooler's CEO called the decision a "big disappointment" and delivers a big blow in bringing ride-sharing to the skies. [TechCrunch]
Photo via Flickr/Jack Snell