In response to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit decision on March 3, 2023, to deny a Petition for Mandamus from FLYERSRIGHTS.ORG and Paul Hudson, Petitioners, the National Air Carrier Association issued the following statement:
“NACA commends the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit for refusing to order the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to adopt minimum requirements for commercial passenger airline seat size and spacing.
Seating density allows six of the nation’s lowest cost airlines (ULCCs) to offer rock-bottom base fares that make flying affordable for working families and small businesses. Additionally, because ULCCs carry more passengers on their modern, fuel-efficient aircraft than legacy airlines, they have the lowest fuel-burn per passenger in the U.S. airline industry, reducing their carbon footprint.
Congress directed the FAA in the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 to consider establishing minimum seating dimensions that were “necessary” for passenger safety. The FAA and a panel of experts already have reviewed extensive cabin evacuation data and conducted state-of-the-art mock cabin evacuations and concluded that existing passenger seat dimensions do not adversely impact safety. Therefore, the Court correctly found that it is not a “clear and indisputable” fact that condensed seating poses a safety risk.
As Congress prepares to take up FAA reauthorization legislation this year, we urge Members to reject efforts to require the FAA to regulate seat dimensions on passenger aircraft.