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George Conway
Public Guest


Reged: 09/21/04
Posts: 47
FAA Set to Raise Retirement Age For Pilots to 65
      #136769 - 12/11/06 06:40 AM

FAA Set to Raise
Retirement Age
For Pilots to 65

By ANDY PASZTOR
December 11, 2006; Page A3

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, according to industry and government officials.
The agency's emerging support for raising the mandatory retirement age to 65 comes as foreign airlines and regulators are adopting similar changes. If left unchanged, the current rules over the next decade will require thousands of passenger and cargo commercial pilots -- some projections total more than 30,0000 aviators -- to retire at age 60, regardless of their health, according to industry officials.
QUESTION OF THE DAY

http://online.wsj.com/public/resourc...2003210049.gif Vote: What should be the mandatory retirement age for U.S. commercial jet pilots?


After repeatedly opposing similar efforts to change the rules, some U.S. airlines and pilots groups are beginning to soften their stances. Retaining larger numbers of senior pilots could help some airlines keep a lid on pension expenses and reduce training costs as younger pilots fill in behind retirees, while pension cutbacks at some carriers make working longer more important to some pilots. The 60-year age limit was a compromise between unions and airlines in the 1950s over economics and hasn't been changed since.
According to people familiar with the situation, FAA Administrator Marion Blakey is crafting the new position slowly but steadily. Before spelling it out publicly, she is expected to gauge the willingness of incoming Democratic leaders in Congress to take the lead in advocating such moves. Input from the White House and Department of Transportation could affect the agency's actions. Bills calling for the policy shift failed to pick up enough traction this year. A spokeswoman for Ms. Blakey said the industry can "expect a decision relatively soon."
Finalizing new regulations could take 18 months or more, but FAA lawyers are mulling over whether to apply the new standard to currently retired pilots between 60 and 65, according to one person familiar with the process. Seniority rules could make it extremely difficult to make any change retroactive.
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.
Keeping the age limit at 60 is becoming more difficult to defend, following a move by the International Civil Aviation Organization, a United Nations agency that sets nonbinding global safety standards, to raise retirement ages at airlines world-wide.
ICAO said last month airline pilots could safely stay behind the controls until they turn 65, as long as the other pilot in the same cockpit is younger than 60. Even before that, a few foreign carriers were flying into and out of U.S. airports with copilots older than age 60.
Proponents of change see pressure building. "If Congress fails to act in the next three months, the FAA will be prepared to go to rulemaking" anyway, said Gary Cottingham, a retired US Airways Group Inc. pilot spearheading a group called Airline Pilots Against Age Discrimination.
An FAA-sponsored study group set up to clarify safety and economic issues didn't make specific recommendations in a recent report.
A spokesman for the Air Line Pilots Association, the pilots union that has opposed changes on safety grounds, said "changing the age is a lot more complex than most [people] would realize, especially when it comes to scheduling crews" for long-distance or international flying.
The union recognizes political momentum is building for change. A spokesman said "regardless of what the FAA does, our pilots will have to find their own way of dealing with" the issue.
Already, union leaders have negotiated labor contracts with at least two Canadian carriers explicitly allowing pilots to stay past the age of 60. And pilot age hasn't been a factor in any of the high-profile jetliner crashes in recent years.
Robert "Hoot" Gibson, a former astronaut who was forced to retire from Southwest Airlines Co. in October, said today's situation is "ludicrous" because "it isn't based on medical evidence." He said retirement should hinge on the specific health of pilots, who are required to pass an FAA-sanctioned medical exam every six months in order to remain on flight duty.
To defuse safety worries, one possible compromise may be to mandate "more-extensive physicals and an increased level of scrutiny" as soon as pilots turn 60, according to Richard Healing, an aviation consultant and former member of the National Transportation Safety Board. "It needs to be done right" to reassure critics, he said.
Advocates of the age 65 rule, including Mr. Gibson, are pleased senior agency officials are starting out with a more-neutral position, rather than dismissing the idea outright as they did in the past. "For the first time, the FAA has said it is neutral" on the topic, Mr. Gibson said.
Earlier this year, Jim Ballough, director of the FAA's flight standards office, signaled the more-flexible approach when he told an international industry conference in Portland, Oregon, that agency officials were "discussing the issue internally" and "looking at our options."
The debate coincides with other efforts to revise traditional pilot scheduling and training rules globally. U.S. and foreign airlines, for instance, are mulling ways to have pilots fly longer-than-normal shifts on ultralong-range international trips. And ICAO is pushing new standards requiring less actual flight time before copilots can receive a license.
To keep the retirement issue in the limelight, Mr. Cottingham and his advocacy organization for 60 and older pilots are contemplating asking the FAA to approve a bunch of exemptions for particular aviators. In an interview last week, Mr. Cottingham said such waivers were granted routinely to pilots of regional aircraft in the late 1990s, and his group plans to start asking the FAA chief for similar exemptions for soon-to-be retirees.
Low-fare domestic carriers Southwest and JetBlue Airways have told the FAA they are eager to start implementing a rule change to help pilots over 60. But legacy carriers with international routes so far have been reluctant to buck their pilot unions by openly supporting such a shift.
Indicating a strategy for the coming fight, a spokesman for ALPA, which recently elected a new president, said "having Congress take the lead and avoid a full-scale rulemaking procedure" by the FAA would "have negative ramifications down the road."
Write to Andy Pasztor at andy.pasztor@wsj.com


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Richard Duxbury (Dux)
Top Gun


Reged: 05/15/04
Posts: 5468
Loc: Minneapolis/Tucson
Re: FAA Set to Raise Retirement Age For Pilots to [Re: George Conway]
      #136778 - 12/11/06 07:14 AM

I've stated for some time that the age 60 requirement would change at some point in the future. And, it already has for the vast number of countries part of the ICAO accords.

It almost changed last year in the USA, but a few Republican Senators voted with the Democrats, which keep age 60.

Most Democrats favored keeping age 60 -perhaps reflecting their duty to follow union recommendations.

Now many pilots are unclear about the need to keep age 60 -although for the record National ALPA still is holding out for keeping age 60, even with a large minority of their pilots pushing for a higher age.

If the Republicans had continued control of congress this would be a done deal (IMO).

However, with the Democrats in control, it's more of a question mark (again IMO).

"Here we go again". Now even more copilots will be buying senior Captains hang gliders, bungy jumping kits, etc.

Regards,

Dux


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Robert Mann [HPN-NY]
AVSIG Member


Reged: 05/15/04
Posts: 11777
Loc: NY
Re: FAA Set to Raise Retirement Age For Pilots to [Re: Richard Duxbury (Dux)]
      #136795 - 12/11/06 09:45 AM

Dux,

<<It almost changed last year in the USA, but a few Republican Senators voted with the Democrats, which keep age 60. Most Democrats favored keeping age 60 -perhaps reflecting their duty to follow union recommendations.>>

Isn't this part of the FAA's regulatory authority? This doesn't require an act of Congress, does it? Or, is the issue that Congress can overide the FAA, so as a practical matter, Congressional support is needed?

I'm getting the sense that 65 is going to happen this time.

--------------------
Best,

Bob


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Robert Mann [HPN-NY]
AVSIG Member


Reged: 05/15/04
Posts: 11777
Loc: NY
Re: FAA Set to Raise Retirement Age For Pilots to 65 [Re: George Conway]
      #136797 - 12/11/06 09:49 AM

<<In addition, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission concluded the 60-year age limit is discriminatory.>>

I wasn't aware of that. Any more details from anyone?

--------------------
Best,

Bob


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George Conway
Public Guest


Reged: 09/21/04
Posts: 47
Re: FAA Set to Raise Retirement Age For Pilots to [Re: Robert Mann [HPN-NY]]
      #136801 - 12/11/06 10:05 AM

Quote:

Dux,

<<It almost changed last year in the USA, but a few Republican Senators voted with the Democrats, which keep age 60. Most Democrats favored keeping age 60 -perhaps reflecting their duty to follow union recommendations.>>

Isn't this part of the FAA's regulatory authority? This doesn't require an act of Congress, does it? Or, is the issue that Congress can overide the FAA, so as a practical matter, Congressional support is needed?

I'm getting the sense that 65 is going to happen this time.




The FAA can change the rule but there would be some problems left behind. What happens to the pilots that are under age 65 but have been forced to retire? The Bills in Congress addressed that issue, the FAA cannot.


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Randy Sohn
Gradn Exlated Ordre of teh Fyling Fingres


Reged: 08/31/01
Posts: 23187
Loc: Savage, MN - U.S.A.
Re: FAA Set to Raise Retirement Age For Pilots to [Re: George Conway]
      #136824 - 12/11/06 12:44 PM

G - re>>The FAA can change the rule but there would be some problems left behind. What happens to the pilots that are under age 65 but have been forced to retire? The Bills in Congress addressed that issue, the FAA cannot<<

Guess we can do as "Frantic" always signs his E-mails to me, "Required Retired".

Guess what concerns me is the latest did to Delta by the Feds.

best, randy


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Scott Dyer [HPN/NY]
Top Gun


Reged: 01/11/03
Posts: 20065
FAA Set to Raise Retirement Age For Pilots to 65 [Re: Robert Mann [HPN-NY]]
      #136852 - 12/11/06 04:10 PM

Bob -- Many corporate departments have been hit by EEOC actions, and reached
consent agreements, about their rules requiring retirement from flying at
age 60. The "age 60" rule for Part 121 isn't illegal because it is required
by federal regulation, but it is still per se discrimination and would
otherwise be illegal under the ADEA.

--------------------
www.scottdyercfi.com


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Scott Dyer [HPN/NY]
Top Gun


Reged: 01/11/03
Posts: 20065
FAA Set to Raise Retirement Age For Pilots to [Re: Robert Mann [HPN-NY]]
      #136853 - 12/11/06 04:10 PM

Bob -- It's an FAA rule, which FAA change. It's not a statutory rule. OTOH,
the guys who want out early will surely challenge a new rule, alleging that
some aspect of its promulgation is not in compliance with the APA (e.g.,
failure to have a rational basis for changing the rule). The exact challenge
employed will have to await the rule being issued with supporting preamble.

--------------------
www.scottdyercfi.com


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Robert Mann [HPN-NY]
AVSIG Member


Reged: 05/15/04
Posts: 11777
Loc: NY
Re: FAA Set to Raise Retirement Age For Pilots to 65 [Re: Scott Dyer [HPN/NY]]
      #136854 - 12/11/06 04:16 PM

Scott,

<<Many corporate departments have been hit by EEOC actions, and reached consent agreements, about their rules requiring retirement from flying at age 60. The "age 60" rule for Part 121 isn't illegal because it is required
by federal regulation>>

So if it isn't illegal because it's mandated by federal regulation, why the consent agreements, as opposed to the challenge just getting dismissed?

--------------------
Best,

Bob


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Scott Dyer [HPN/NY]
Top Gun


Reged: 01/11/03
Posts: 20065
FAA Set to Raise Retirement Age For Pilots to 65 [Re: Robert Mann [HPN-NY]]
      #136857 - 12/11/06 04:38 PM

Bob - You're mixing apples and oranges.

The corporate departments are flying under Part 91, not Part 121. Part 91
doesn't have an "age 60" rule, but many departments put the rule in place,
nonetheless (including Boeing). Those are the groups that EEOC went after.
Some of the consent decrees obligated flying past 60, with periodic medical
and, I think, performance monitoring for pilots approaching 60 and those
flying after 60 (it's been 8 or so years since I looked into this in some
detail).

The Part 121 operators can rely on the FAA reg as insulation against
discrimination claims on this issue.

--------------------
www.scottdyercfi.com


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