Flytenow, a would-be online flight-sharing service, says the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) is opposing an effort by Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) that would allow services to operate in the U.S.

In an Aug. 8 blog, Flytenow expressed puzzlement over the association’s position relative to the proposed Aviation Empowerment Act, writing that: “AOPA is siding with business aviation industry lobbyists ... ignoring the interests of their own members.”

The company pointed to European Aviation Safety Agency oversight of similar flight-sharing services in the EU as an example of how the services could be regulated in the U.S. The bill, if passed, would change the definition of “compensation” to exclude flights in which the “pilots and passengers share aircraft operating expenses or the pilot receives any benefit.”

It would also create a “personal operator” classification for pilots who provide transportation for compensation in aircraft that have eight or fewer seats. Such operations are currently considered “common carriage,” which means they require commercial certification to operate.

AOPA President and CEO Mark Baker, in an emailed response to a query, said “AOPA has always supported cost-sharing for flights,” but insists they be done “in a deliberate and safe manner.” The group believes services like Flytenow and the now-defunct AirPooler, which advertise online to the public, expose passengers to unacceptable levels of risk.

Baker also cited AOPA’s collaboration with Congress on compromise language in the House-passed FAA reauthorization bill, which would allow flight-sharing to move forward, as evidence of the association’s support of the practice.

The provision backed by AOPA would instruct the FAA to issue guidance on flights for which pilots and passengers may share expense, as well as the methods of communication they may use to arrange them. The FAA has long allowed pilots and passengers to split the costs on things like fuel, oil and aircraft rental fees, as long as the parties have a “common purpose” for the trip.

In 2015, the agency decided it would prohibit flight-sharing services from advertising to the general public through websites like Flytenow. The service was shuttered in late 2015 when a federal appeals court ruled it ran afoul of regulations on common carriage. In January 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the case, upholding the lower court’s ruling.