A new Federal Aviation Administration ruling prevents private pilots from seeking paying passengers using online “planesharing” services like AirPooler and Flytenow.
The FAA’s ruling classifies the services as compensation for pilots, which is prohibited unless the pilot is certified to operate as an air carrier, TechCrunch reports. However, this certificate is extremely difficult for pilots to obtain.
Although the ruling prohibits the use of these services, private pilots will still be allowed to find passengers through more conventional means, such as word of mouth and airfield bulletin boards.
The FAA issued the decision following a request by AirPooler to clarify the rules surrounding its business model.
According to the letter sent to AirPooler by the FAA, even though certain exceptions exist for private pilots to share operating expenses with passengers as long as they have other reasons for choosing the destination, the model used by AirPooler and other services falls outside these exceptions.
“Although the pilots participating in the AirPooler website have chosen the destination, they are holding out to the public to transport passengers for compensation in the form of a reduction of the operating expenses they would have paid for the flight,” the ruling said.
Despite the setback, AirPooler intends to ask for further clarification, due to the fact that the FAA cited an unofficial 1963 proposal for planesharing, rather than the official regulations implemented in 1964, which provide exceptions for the compensation of private pilots under certain criteria.