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Old 12-04-2006, 03:16 PM   #1  
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Default Panel Splits on Raising Airline Pilot Retirement Age (Update2)

Nov. 30 (Bloomberg) -- A U.S. government panel couldn't agree whether the retirement age for airline pilots should be raised to 65 from 60, calling the issue ``contentious.''

If the Federal Aviation Administration does lift the age, pilots who are already retired shouldn't be allowed to return to work, the panel said in a report to the agency in Washington.

The split leaves FAA Administrator Marion Blakey without an industry consensus as she decides whether to change the agency's 47-year practice of forcing pilots to retire at age 60. Prodded by some pilots and lawmakers to change the age limit, she named the panel on Sept. 27 to advise her by late November.

``It's basically a tie,'' said Washington-based consultant Clay Foushee, a former vice president of operations at Northwest Airlines Corp. ``It doesn't really help clarify the matter at all. It's a very politically difficult situation for the administrator.''

Pilots who have had pension benefits pared as U.S. airlines struggled financially have been pushing to work longer to make up at least some of the difference. Younger pilots who want more opportunities for promotions tend to oppose a higher age.

No Recommendation

``The age 60 issue remains contentious for the commercial aviation industry,'' said the panelists, who included airline representatives and pilot union leaders. Their report made no recommendation on raising the age and devoted roughly equal space to the pro and con views of a change.

The FAA received the report yesterday and hasn't released it publicly, spokeswoman Laura Brown said. ``We appreciate the hard work of the committee,'' Brown said. ``We're reviewing it.'' Bloomberg News obtained a copy today.

Six panel members opposed raising the age, including four representatives of the Air Line Pilots Association, the world's largest pilot union. The panelists from AMR Corp.'s American Airlines and its Allied Pilots Association also opposed any change.

The four panelists who favored raising the age were from Southwest Airlines Co., JetBlue Airways Corp., the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association and a group called Airline Pilots Against Age Discrimination.

``This breaks down along some predictable lines,'' said William Voss, chief executive officer of the Flight Safety Foundation in Alexandria, Virginia. ``This isn't going to help Marion Blakey very much.''

Neutral Leaders

Some panelists didn't endorse either view in the report, including the co-chairs, Jim May, president of the Air Transport Association airline industry trade group and Duane Woerth, president of the Airline Pilots Association. Both men declined to comment through their spokesmen.

A representative of the Aerospace Medical Association, filed a separate opinion that ``age should not be the sole criterion'' for disqualifying airline pilots. The advisory panel began with 14 industry members and added two more, according to its report.

The group's lone recommendation is that the FAA not change the age retroactively. ``Any element of retroactivity would add more complexity to the issue and make it almost impossible for any agreement on implementation,'' according to the report.

Pressure to raise the age has come from U.S. lawmakers such as Oklahoma Republican Senator James Inhofe, himself a 72-year- old private pilot. The Senate Appropriations Committee in July approved lifting the age to 65 as part of a $69 billion budget bill. That legislation still hasn't been enacted into law.

Other Countries

Countries such as Australia that allow older pilots to fly and wanted them to be able to cross other nations' airspace also want the U.S. to lift the age.

The International Civil Aviation Organization, which recommends global air-safety standards, adopted a standard that nations should allow pilots to fly to age 65 as long as the other pilot in the cockpit is younger than 60. The change took effect Nov. 23, which means older pilots on foreign airlines can fly in U.S. skies, if allowed by their carriers and governments.

Airline pilots currently flying over age 60 include 18 with Japan Airlines Corp., 20 with Qantas Airways Ltd., 35 at SAS Group and 20 at Air New Zealand Ltd., according to an Oct. 12 letter from the International Federation of Air Lines Pilots Associations. The letter was included in the report.

``Age alone is a very poor discriminator of risk of incapacitation,'' said Voss, former director of ICAO's air navigation bureau who worked on the age-60 issue. ``We should end the debate on what the right age is and start a new debate on how do we evaluate risk of incapacitation with current, modern medical methods.''

Foushee, a consultant with Zuckert Scoutt and Rasenberger LLP in Washington, said he had hoped the FAA panelists' decisions ``would be made more on technical and physiological grounds, rather than political grounds.''
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Old 12-04-2006, 03:54 PM   #2  
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Hopefully the 109th congess does nothing the next two weeks. The 110th will never let this bill through. The Dems now run the show. And only about 5% of the Co-sponsors were Dems.

This thing is most likely dead if the FAA comes out nuetral. At least for a couple more years. Thank goodness. We have about 350 going out the next 2 years. This includes the Rope's.
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Old 12-04-2006, 04:20 PM   #3  
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Default One size does not fit all

Maybe if these daytime, one time zone light twin drivers had to do a couple dozen time zones a trip they would not be so eager to fly 'til they die.....Please don't penalize many of us who want to go by 60. It pains me to say it; I'm kinda glad the Dems spanked the other guys this time.....

Last edited by SKYKN6; 12-04-2006 at 04:21 PM. Reason: typo
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Old 12-04-2006, 04:59 PM   #4  
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Originally Posted by SKYKN6 View Post
Maybe if these daytime, one time zone light twin drivers had to do a couple dozen time zones a trip they would not be so eager to fly 'til they die.....Please don't penalize many of us who want to go by 60. It pains me to say it; I'm kinda glad the Dems spanked the other guys this time.....

While being a junior pilot who will benefit much more by the age 60 staying in place rather than getting raised (for about 20 more years anyway), no one is forcing you to stay past 60 if it does change. Infact, no one is forcing you to stay to 60. You could retire at 55 if you really want to retire. I don't see the "not everyone wants to stay in the cockpit that long" as a valid argument.
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Old 12-04-2006, 05:08 PM   #5  
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Originally Posted by KZ1000Shaft View Post
While being a junior pilot who will benefit much more by the age 60 staying in place rather than getting raised (for about 20 more years anyway), no one is forcing you to stay past 60 if it does change. Infact, no one is forcing you to stay to 60. You could retire at 55 if you really want to retire. I don't see the "not everyone wants to stay in the cockpit that long" as a valid argument.
Wrong! One's A- plan will be penalized significantly if you opt out early. This is common knowledge. The annuity is reduced for each year you retire early.
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Old 12-04-2006, 05:08 PM   #6  
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pilots who want to fly past 60 can always go overseas to those countries that now go up to 65. Asian carriers are hiring Americans right and left.
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Old 12-04-2006, 05:27 PM   #7  
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Wrong! One's A- plan will be penalized significantly if you opt out early. This is common knowledge. The annuity is reduced for each year you retire early.
Thats assuming your A-plan will be around on the day you retire. At the rate retirement funds have been dropping (in all industries) that may not be so.
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Old 12-04-2006, 05:31 PM   #8  
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Have you guys heard about this really anywhere else? I've been watching CNN, O'reily, reading the news on Yahoo and a few other places I've visited and it seems like no one cares.

However I doubt it will pass. Dems don't want and no one right now wants to do anything the dems don't like after they've all been preaching about working together.
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Old 12-04-2006, 05:47 PM   #9  
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It's funny how the LLCs (Jet blue Southwest etc) that did most of the damage to the industry now wants to fly past age sixty. If theese guys had any self respect, they would not have taken jobs that don't pay enough to sustain a decent retirement.
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Old 12-04-2006, 06:14 PM   #10  
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Have you guys heard about this really anywhere else? I've been watching CNN, O'reily, reading the news on Yahoo and a few other places I've visited and it seems like no one cares.

However I doubt it will pass. Dems don't want and no one right now wants to do anything the dems don't like after they've all been preaching about working together.
There aren't that many pilots. Aviation doesn't get talked about on TV until somebody dies...
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