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Law for facilities to air passengers overruled

A court strikes down a state law requiring airlines to give food, water and clean toilets to passengers stuck in delayed planes as the measure stepped on federal authority.

world Updated: Mar 26, 2008 18:17 IST

A federal appeals court has struck down a state law requiring airlines to give food, water, clean toilets and fresh air to passengers stuck in delayed planes, saying the measure was "well-intentioned" but stepped on federal authority.

The 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals said on Wednesday that the New York's law, the first of its kind in the country, interferes with federal law governing the price, route or service of an air carrier.

The law was passed after thousands of passengers were stranded aboard airplanes for up to 10 hours on several JetBlue Airways flights at John F Kennedy International Airport on Valentine's Day in 2007.

They complained they were deprived of food and water and that toilets overflowed. A month later, hundred more passengers of other airlines were stranded aboard planes at the airport.

The law was challenged by the Air Transport Association of America, the industry trade group representing leading US airlines.

The court said that while the goals of the law were "laudable" and the circumstances prompting its adoption "deplorable," only the federal government had the authority to pass such regulations.

"If New York's view regarding the scope of its regulatory authority carried the day, another state could be free to enact a law prohibiting the service of soda on flights departing from its airports, while another could require allergen-free food options on its outbound flights, unraveling the centralised federal framework for air travel," the court wrote.