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New WSJ article on age 60

Old 12-11-2006, 04:07 AM
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Default New WSJ article on age 60

Sorry, I can't get the URL to work. Anyway it is on the front page of the WSJ on-line.

Last edited by Paddles; 12-11-2006 at 04:10 AM. Reason: url
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Old 12-11-2006, 05:46 AM
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Default WSJ article

FWIW, here's what was posted on another forum:


FAA Set to Raise Retirement Age For Pilots to 65
By Andy Pasztor Wall Street 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, 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 sources.
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Old 12-11-2006, 06:43 AM
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http://users1.wsj.com/lmda/do/checkL..._whats_news_us
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Old 12-11-2006, 07:24 AM
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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.


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."
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Old 12-11-2006, 08:16 AM
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Originally Posted by MacMan View Post
FAA Set to Raise
Retirement Age
For Pilots to 65
By ANDY PASZTOR
December 11, 2006; Page A3

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.
Do I want the age limit to change...NO! Will it happen? More than likely. BUT...nothing happens in this country without a lot of debates, studies and long winded discussions not to mention all the paper pushing that has to be done.

Problem is that the 58 and 59 yr old guys want something to happen tomorrow but in reality this change is years away from happening.

I hope that the FAA sets a 'future effective date' so pilots can plan ahead and companies can have better forecasting/staffing info. And second, I don't think the older folks are going to like the new Class 1 medical standards if you do want to stay around longer.

I do not know the process first hand but once you notify your employer you are retiring, process the paperwork and start collecting benefits, it doesn't seem like you could 'un-retire' and go back to the line if the age limit is increased. Comments...

Good luck!

Last edited by PurpleTail; 12-11-2006 at 08:22 AM.
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Old 12-11-2006, 08:46 AM
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The 58 & 59 year old pilots are the ones stomping around in Washington pushing this thing. Though dreadfully outnumbered by the younger guys and gals, they seem to be making themselves heard and the press seems to be swinging in their favor. I think the younger guys are going to lose this battle because they chose not to show up for it.
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Old 12-11-2006, 08:47 AM
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I don't think the older folks are going to like the new Class 1 medical standards
Maybe more folks than just the older folks....


I'm still waiting on them to change the rule on O2 masks at FL250. The FAA can't even summon the courage to do that.
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Old 12-11-2006, 08:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Huck View Post
Maybe more folks than just the older folks....


I'm still waiting on them to change the rule on O2 masks at FL250. The FAA can't even summon the courage to do that.
Almost happened to FL350 11 months ago - I believe it was the NTSB that asked that not happen (since when does the FAA listen to the NTSB! )
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Old 12-11-2006, 09:48 AM
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"I do not know the process first hand but once you notify your employer you are retiring, process the paperwork and start collecting benefits, it doesn't seem like you could 'un-retire' and go back to the line if the age limit is increased."

I'm sure this all will depend on what the "experts" in congress pull out of their... I mean what they think is best for their constitcheents. If they say you can un-retire, then you can un-retire.
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Old 12-11-2006, 11:00 AM
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This issue has nothing to do with the 58 and 59 year old pilots stomping around Washington.

It has everything to do with foreign trade agreements and ICAO standards. There is little we can do to stop it, but plenty we can do to delay it. It will change though. This is just part of the dance.
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