Monday, December 11, 2006

FAA Contemplates Raising Mandatory Retirement Age for Pilots, Wall St. Journal Reports

According to an article by Andy Pasztor for the Wall St. Journal, the Federal Aviation Administration, moving away from its longstanding policy that airline pilots must retire at age 60, wants to let them work in the cockpit as many as five years longer. Pasztor reports that after repeatedly opposing similar efforts to change the rules, some U.S. airlines and pilots groups are beginning to soften their stances.
The FAA's apparent change of heart is influenced by the current tight market globally for pilots as well as the lack of recent scientific data demonstrating any clear-cut erosion of safety from extending the careers of pilots, according to one person familiar with the matter. In addition, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission concluded the 60-year age limit is discriminatory.
In addition, Pasztor writes that keeping the age limit at 60 is becoming more difficult to defend, following a move by the International Civil Aviation Organization to raise retirement ages at airlines world-wide. A spokeswoman for FAA Administrator Marion Blakey said the industry can "expect a decision relatively soon." However, if a proposal is made, finalizing new regulations could take 18 months or more.

Source: Wall St. Journal "FAA Set to Raise Retirement Age For Pilots to 65" (December 11, 2006 (subscription required)

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