NBAA Guide on Crowd Sourcing
Crowdsourcing (relevant passages)
Is the broker “crowdsourcing” the flight by allowing passengers to self-aggregate and collectively determine the itinerary of the chosen flight? If so, have proper measures been taken to ensure that such crowdsourcing meets regulatory requirements. Because there are numerous regulatory pitfalls if done incorrectly (see below), any crowdsourcing should be done in consultation with aviation counsel.
Although DOT has provided no public guidance, the keys to this model appear to include the following: (a) the membership entity acts as web host providing a members-only web site through which a “lead passenger” notifies other members about a desired charter flight; (b) an agreement arises among members to share a charter flight prior to the operator being contacted about the flight; (c) once the members commit to the flight, the membership entity acts as the agent of the members in arranging the charter trip. Neither the membership entity nor the operator can play any other role in forming the charter group.
Business models can be viewed by DOT and FAA as self-aggregation, crowdsourcing or facilitating the gathering of a group of people who then decide to charter aircraft on their own. FAA and DOT’s goal is to ensure that transparency exists between what the public purchases and what it receives both in terms of safety and consumer protection, including that appropriate licensure requirements are met.