Wednesday, 12 December 2007

Who Are You Calling Grandpa? House Moves To Raise Pilot Retirement Age

If 65 is the new 45, then the latest push to increase the mandatory commercial pilot retirement age to 65 shouldn't ruffle any feathers. But it has!

A hastily-created bill, called the “Fair Treatment for Experienced Pilots Act” was unanimously passed by the House of Representatives late yesterday evening.

Pilots are split on whether they want the legislation to move forward.

The Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) was long opposed to proposed changes to the mandatory retirement age, but in May its executive board decided its resources would be better spent protecting pilots’ interests as new age rules are drafted.

However, American Airlines pilots' union, the Allied Pilots Association (APA), has been quick to bash the new bill.

This link will take you to the bill. But here are some key phrases from the legislation.

In General...a pilot may serve in multicrew covered operations until attaining 65 years of age.

(To meet ICAO standards) A pilot who has attained 60 years of age may serve as pilot-in-command in covered operations between the United States and another country only if there is another pilot in the flight deck crew who has not yet attained 60 years of age.

No person who has attained 60 years of age before the date of enactment of this section may serve as a pilot for an air carrier engaged in covered operations unless - such person is in the employment of that air carrier in such operations on such date of enactment as a required flight deck crew member; or such person is newly hired by an air carrier as a pilot on or after such date of enactment without credit for prior seniority or prior longevity for benefits or other terms related to length of service prior to the date of rehire under any labor agreement or employment policies of the air carrier.

Any amendment to a labor agreement or benefit plan of an air carrier that is required to conform with the requirements of this section or a regulation issued to carry out this section, and is applicable to pilots represented for collective bargaining, shall be made by agreement of the air carrier and the designated bargaining representative of the pilots of the air carrier.

No person who has attained 60 years of age may serve as a pilot of an air carrier engaged in covered operations unless the person has a first-class medical certificate. Such a certificate shall expire on the last day of the 6-month period following the date of examination shown on the certificate.

Each air carrier engaged in covered operations shall continue to use pilot training and qualification programs approved by the Federal Aviation Administration, with specific emphasis on initial and recurrent training and qualification of pilots who have attained 60 years of age, to ensure continued acceptable levels of pilot skill and judgment.

Not later than 6 months after the date of enactment of this section, and every 6 months thereafter, an air carrier engaged in covered operations shall evaluate the performance of each pilot of the air carrier who has attained 60 years of age through a line check of such pilot. Notwithstanding the preceding sentence, an air carrier shall not be required to conduct for a 6-month period a line check under this paragraph of a pilot serving as second-in-command if the pilot has undergone a regularly scheduled simulator evaluation during that period.

Not later than 24 months after the date of enactment of this section, the Comptroller General shall submit to the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate a report concerning the effect, if any, on aviation safety of the modification to pilot age.


Anonymous said...

Kind of cool the way ALPA did an about face on the Age 65 thing isn't it Mary.

Next thing you know ALPA will be listening to what regional airline pilots have to say too, almost as if they care.

ALPA has begun realizing where its bread is buttered I think. The regional guys will be major airline pilots someday and not be able to retire at 60 anyway. And there has turned out to be way more of them than ALPA ever planned on.

If you haven't seen it yet, stroll over to the RJ Defense Coalition for another look at the union that says it represents ALL airline pilots.

And no, I'm not an ALPA member ... at least not any longer.

Rob Mark

Mary Kirby said...

I'll check it out Rob. Thanks!