Timothy Lynes, head of Katten's Aviation practice, was quoted in Law360 regarding the impact of DC Circuit's recent ruling on the FAA' s denial of a petition to regulate airline seat sizes. The court ruled that the FAA, when considering a request to regulate under its powers concerning health and safety, must produce the evidence it relies upon in making any determination. The DC Circuit remanded the matter for further consideration by the FAA.
Timothy confirmed that the FAA already issues air worthiness certificates, which assess the overall safety of aircraft; so if seat sizes do ultimately pose a safety problem and changes are sought on a state or federal level, the agency will likely step in. "If anyone tries to legislate a seat requirement based upon a consumer protection theory or passengers' bill of rights, I think you'd find the FAA to be pretty responsive to that," he stated. (Read "Shrinking Airline Seat Size Tests FAA's Regulatory Limits," August 1, 2017)