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"FAA Rulemaking Committee Ponders Age 60 Rule"



Friday, November 3, 2006

FAA Rulemaking Committee Ponders Age 60 Rule 
ICAO Change Goes Into Effect This Month
Aero News Network


Pressure to change the age-60 rule continues to mount... as an FAA Aviation
Rulemaking Committee (ARC) met for the second time recently to discuss the
possibility of changing it. But does that mean those hoping to change the
rule will succeed?

Since 1959, pilots flying for commercial carriers have to retire at age 60.
But opposition to the rule has increased in recent years. Later this month,
a change to International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) rules will
force the FAA to allow foreign pilots up to the age of 65 to fly
commercially in the US, as long as another pilot in the cockpit is younger
than 60.

That change comes after a study of 3000 pilots found the risk of medical
incapacitation for those over 60 is negligible.

Even pilot's unions -- historically status quo stalwarts -- might be
cracking. With bankruptcy courts killing airline pension plans, those extra
five years of work are looking better all the time.

"Clearly this is an issue that has wide-ranging implications for both
airlines and the pilot community," said Air Line Pilots Association
President Duane Woerth, who along with Air Transport Association President
and CEO James C. May serves as co-chair of the committee.

As Aero-News reported, FAA Administrator Marion Blakey agreed to convene the
ARC in September, after 30 airline veterans began an intense lobbying
campaign on Capitol Hill. Shortly after that, 12 senators sent Blakey a
letter showing their support for repealing the Age 60 rule.

"As cosponsors of S.65 (one of two bills, one Senate and one House,
currently before Congress on the issue -- Ed.) we have worked tirelessly
this session to provide the FAA with legislative guidance that would afford
US pilots the same right that you will be required to give foreign pilots
this fall," the lawmakers wrote. "We are hopeful that Congress will pass
this legislation prior to adjourning sine die (on indefinite hold) this
year."

In related news, this week in Germany three Lufthansa pilots brought suit
against their airline seeking to change the rule in that country, saying the
Age 60 rule is a form of discrimination.

But those in the US seeking to change the rule fear their efforts might be
in vain... as  eight of the 14 voting members on the rule-making committee
are said to oppose changing the rule.

FMI: www.faa.gov

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