The Arizona-based Goldwater Institute last month sued the Federal Aviation Administration on behalf of Flytenow Inc., a fledgling transportation network company that is looking to do for “flight sharing” what firms like Uber and Lyft already have done for ridesharing.

Before an FAA ruling that all but shut down Flytenow last year, the service allowed private and general aviation pilots to post travel plans online, and offered passengers a means to contact those pilots and make arrangements to share a trip. In August 2014, the similar flight-sharing service AirPooler voluntarily asked the FAA to rule on whether their business model was legal. The FAA ruled that it was not and that AirPooler and other flight-sharing services were operating illegal airlines.

Goldwater’s suit challenges the ruling on the First Amendment grounds, arguing that the service, and those of its competitors, are not functionally different than posting flight plans and offers to share expenses on a bulletin board in an airport. For decades, the FAA has allowed pilots to make such postings in exchange for passengers’ help in paying for fuel and other expenses.

There are many reasons flyers might look into flight-sharing services. General aviation pilots often fly out of smaller airports, where passengers are not subject to the same intrusive TSA screenings they must endure at the large commercial airports. Flight-sharing services also would expand the air-travel options for those who live in small towns and smaller cities. Instead of traveling hours to a major city to fly, they could possibly find a cheaper flight closer to home.

Surveys also routinely show the major commercial airlines have extremely poor customer service satisfaction. Airlines have the fourth worst customer satisfaction ratings of any industry, according to the most recent American Customer Satisfaction Index.

Flight-sharing services are also a benefit for many general aviation pilots. It would give them an incentive to stay flying. It also could improve general aviation safety, as private pilots would have more opportunity to defray the costs associated with routine maintenance and equipment and to be less rusty.

Instead of fighting technological advancement, the FAA should work on a regulatory scheme that pairs basic consumer and safety protections with preserving the longstanding practice of cost-sharing by bringing it up to date for the 21st century. The ideal regulatory framework is one that promotes innovation and helps the flying public win by giving them more options.

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