Airline Pilot Retirement Age Could Be Raised To 67

Airline Pilot Retirement Age Could Be Raised To 67

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We’re dealing with a major pilot shortage in the United States. While regional airlines are most impacted by this, the reality is that the implications go way beyond that.

There are different solutions being proposed to help with the pilot shortage. For example, a major regional airline is asking the FAA to lower the minimum number of hours for airline pilots from 1,500 to 750, which seems logical. It looks like we could soon see another solution to this issue, in the form of the pilot retirement age being increased.

Legislation could increase pilot retirement age

Republican South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham is allegedly working on a rather sensible bill (I know!) that would see the commercial airline pilot retirement age raised by two years, from 65 to 67. According to Airline Weekly, Graham is in the process of trying to build support for this legislation.

This would be the second time in recent years that the pilot retirement age is raised. Back in 2007, the commercial airline pilot retirement age in the United States was raised from 60 to 65.

That not only reflected that people are generally living longer, but it was also at a time when airlines were on the brink of liquidation, and many pilots lost some of their pensions and took huge pay cuts during bankruptcy proceedings. So the extra five years was almost intended as a way for them to earn back some of the money they lost.

The airline pilot retirement age could be raised by two years

This is logical and shouldn’t face much objection

Raising the pilot retirement age to 67 makes perfect sense to me:

  • Pilots have to undergo recurrent training and medical exams, and they’ll only continue to be able to fly if they’re deemed to be fit to do so
  • Many people don’t actually want to retire at 65, so after they’re forced to retire from the airlines, they go fly for private jet operators (where the same retirement age doesn’t apply)
  • In general forcing “fit” people to retire at an arbitrary age just seems silly to me

How will this play out with pilots, unions, and airline management?

  • I don’t see why pilots wouldn’t be in favor of this, assuming flying for an extra two years is simply an option, and nothing is taken away if pilots still want to retire at 65; the only downside might be for more junior pilots, as their seniority may be partially “stalled” for two years (then again, that won’t be a huge issue with the current shortage)
  • I don’t see why unions would object here; they often overly protect the interests of the more senior members, and I’m sure many would love to fly a bit longer
  • If anything, airlines might be most opposed to this in the long run, because it will mean that more pilots are at the top of the pay scale, since pilot pay accounts for how many years you’ve been at the airline; airlines largely prefer more junior employees, who aren’t topping out the pay scale

The Southwest Airlines Pilots Association (SWAPA) has already sent out a survey to members asking for their take on the potential for the retirement age to be increased. Often unions will quickly try to strike down change, but that doesn’t seem to be the tone here, at least initially.

Pilots have to go through recurrent training

Bottom line

We could soon see legislation proposed that would raise the airline pilot retirement age in the United States from 65 to 67. While this wouldn’t entirely solve the pilot shortage, letting pilots have longer careers would definitely help.

To me this seems sensible. If pilots want to work for an extra two years, and if they’re safely able to do so, why not let them fly a bit longer? I’m curious to see what comes of this…

What do you make of the prospect of the pilot retirement age being increased?

Conversations (102)
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  1. John Lawson Guest

    As a retired (at age 65) B747 Captain for a European Airline I fully support this proposal as I was compelled to resign while medically fit, current and keen to continue with my carrer.

  2. Climb Guest

    I'm amazed how ALPA can appos to increase pilot retirement age to 67 while witnessing that the most airlines specially mager cargo airlines have to significantly lower their already lower standard on hiring and promoting their very low experiance pilots to be a Captain on their fleet.

  3. Becky L Guest

    Letting a pilot fly to 67 or 68 seems very logical. Especially when you think that lowering the amount of hours of a new pilot by 50%. So much about flying DOES have to do with experience. I am a flight attendant for a major airline, these 60-65 year olds really know what they are doing and have experienced so much. RAISE the age limit to 68...

  4. Steve Brennan Guest

    Time to raise the retirement age to 68. People are living longer and this would be a tremendous help to the airline’s situation.

  5. Curiousjoe Guest

    FAA rules, such as mandatory retirement, even wait times after certain routine procedures for medical, must advance with the growing and advancing available technology of the day. The fact is many of those rules have not advanced with the times, including mandatory retirement.

  6. ALPA pilot Guest

    I agree with increasing retirement age for pilots to the age they wish and are fit to fly. When 80 year olds can be presidents, why can’t pilots be 67, 70 or 80? As long as they are fit and willing, let them fly.
    The other idea is to add pilots to the list of desired professionals so they can obtain work permits from Canada.
    ALPA should respect the wishes of its due paying members instead of mandating what opinions they should have!

  7. Jc Guest

    The age Limit is discrimination, plus with the economy bad shape , it definitely would help

  8. David Guest

    Increased age to 67 should of already occurred. These age requirements are random and 69 may be the more accurate age for retirement. Medicals and recurrent check rides test the pilot on a regular schedule to see if the pilot is fit for duty. Bring back all pilots that are under the age of 69 and those that took early retirement and the pilot shortage would have the short term fix and allow the airlines...

    Increased age to 67 should of already occurred. These age requirements are random and 69 may be the more accurate age for retirement. Medicals and recurrent check rides test the pilot on a regular schedule to see if the pilot is fit for duty. Bring back all pilots that are under the age of 69 and those that took early retirement and the pilot shortage would have the short term fix and allow the airlines to hire for future growth. Thank you, 37 year retired, 65yr old commercial airline pilot.

  9. Frederick Durr Guest

    Hi All, I’m nearing 64 years old and have been flying as captain on the B-747, jumbo jet for almost 24 years. I’ve got 35,000 hours total flight time. I’m in very good overall health and I’m not overweight. I am truly at the absolute top of my game now as related to flying skill; teaching skill (to the young folks), and ability to fly as efficiently as my company (Atlas Air) could hope for....

    Hi All, I’m nearing 64 years old and have been flying as captain on the B-747, jumbo jet for almost 24 years. I’ve got 35,000 hours total flight time. I’m in very good overall health and I’m not overweight. I am truly at the absolute top of my game now as related to flying skill; teaching skill (to the young folks), and ability to fly as efficiently as my company (Atlas Air) could hope for. The pay scale at Atlas tops out at 12 years so the argument that the older pilots earn more is not necessarily valid. Believe me, I mentor young pilots and help them enhance their competency. I also, have a high level of the concept of safe and safety. Their is no exception to experience enhancing safety. I cannot emphasize strongly enough that nothing replaces experience in the cockpit. Young pilots are not at fault, they just need to walk before they run. The flying public deserves a safe flying experience. They don’t get it with low-time pilots. I would personally love to fly for a few extra years. And as a passenger, I only pray that the folks flying me around truly know what they are doing. Raise the age; confirm fitness to fly- no different than now, during my 6 month simulator checks and my once a year “Annual line check.”

  10. Joel Guest

    Make it happen today.
    At Delta Air Lines, our Pilots are flying between 7-18 extra days per month. Tell me there’s no shortage of qualified pilots. As long as they will fly the extra time, and work extra time the management can continue to say “ look at happy the pilots are with their current contract”. Keep up the hard work fellas.
    No contract any time soon!

  11. M.S. Guest

    Older pilots do not cost more because pilot pay scales cap out at 12 years of service. The only advantage senior pilots have is that they can fly larger aircraft which pay more. Junior pilots want senior guys to retire so they can make more money sooner.

    1. Joel Guest

      Amen, that’s the only reason the pigeons at the MEC/LEC’s don’t want it. Anyway why should they care, they don’t do any flying for the company.

  12. A1 Guest

    Absolutely yes! Health standards for pilots shouldn’t be based solely on age. There are many 65 year old pilots who are in much better health than their younger counterparts. I see a great deal of obese 40yr old pilots who present a greater hazard to the traveling public. Let’s set the physical bar high and motivate all pilots to take better care of themselves. Raising the retirement age from 65 to 67 is more than reasonable if a pilot is healthy and fit.

  13. Bryan Ambrose Guest

    So why is FAA not raising the controllers mandatory age 56 retirement?
    If we’re talking safety here how is that making any sense?

  14. Bluemax Guest

    Age discrimination. A violation of federal law. Gee, members of Congress/SCOTUS can go until 80-95 yrs of age. Japan airlines flying pilots over 65 in U.S. airspace. FAA Class l medical exam is no piece of cake. Significant pilot shortage- Yup. So…….get rid of the senior pilots with 12-24,000 hours flying time? Genius idea. Transpose the words “mandatory retirement due to your age” with “mandatory retirement due to (being female, being black, being the wrong...

    Age discrimination. A violation of federal law. Gee, members of Congress/SCOTUS can go until 80-95 yrs of age. Japan airlines flying pilots over 65 in U.S. airspace. FAA Class l medical exam is no piece of cake. Significant pilot shortage- Yup. So…….get rid of the senior pilots with 12-24,000 hours flying time? Genius idea. Transpose the words “mandatory retirement due to your age” with “mandatory retirement due to (being female, being black, being the wrong religion, being gay, being of the wrong political beliefs, being too short/fat, etc etc…). Most of us will self retire anyway if we lose our “edge .” Besides, we have a copilot (FO) sitting next to us. The FAA could simply increase the intensity of the exam. Research how and why the “mandatory retirement of age 60” became LAW. hint: politics, money, power and GREEDY American Airlines. Just saying. Check six! We’re victims- let’s riot!
    Spot on Eric. We’re you at Laughlin in tweets?

  15. Eric Brown Guest

    Safety first! What is safer? A fit experienced pilot that is over 65 or a junior pilot with 750 hours? Many thought raising the age to 65 from 60 would cause problems, but it really has not. This would also help bridge the gap to Social Security for retiring pilots. The advancement delay for junior pilots is only temporary. They too will have the option to fly longer, making up for the initial delay in...

    Safety first! What is safer? A fit experienced pilot that is over 65 or a junior pilot with 750 hours? Many thought raising the age to 65 from 60 would cause problems, but it really has not. This would also help bridge the gap to Social Security for retiring pilots. The advancement delay for junior pilots is only temporary. They too will have the option to fly longer, making up for the initial delay in their advancement. It is also unfair and inaccurate to group all pilots over 60 to be a mess as one writer suggest. He should submit a picture for us to judge.

  16. Roger johndon Guest

    It’s not indentured servitude. If you want to retire at 61, 62, 65….do it. No one is holding your feet too the fire. Don’t try and tell others what they can and can’t do…,

  17. Bob Guest

    Absolutely not safe or sensible! Nearly every fellow pilot I sit next to who is over 62, 63 or 64 look awful. Pilots are inherently exposed to high levels of radiation, have the highest rate of melanoma of any profession and have a terrible life expectancy age. As a passenger the chance of living thru a ‘preventable’ emergency landing/divert due to a pilot dying will skyrocket. Aviation is a business of safety first and always....

    Absolutely not safe or sensible! Nearly every fellow pilot I sit next to who is over 62, 63 or 64 look awful. Pilots are inherently exposed to high levels of radiation, have the highest rate of melanoma of any profession and have a terrible life expectancy age. As a passenger the chance of living thru a ‘preventable’ emergency landing/divert due to a pilot dying will skyrocket. Aviation is a business of safety first and always. It is incomprehensible anyone would knowing allow the risk of an extremely dangerous situation to exponentially increase.

    1. Dave Guest

      I’m 64, can likely beat you at tennis, am not overweight or “looking awful”. I still fly 777’s safely without mistakes as well as my oh-so good looking fo’s. Who often make mistakes that I prevent. What is incomprehensible is having very young, junior pilots flying around TOGETHER. You have absolutely no idea of what you’re advocating or talking about. Telling me I can’t do this job as safely the day I turn 65 as...

      I’m 64, can likely beat you at tennis, am not overweight or “looking awful”. I still fly 777’s safely without mistakes as well as my oh-so good looking fo’s. Who often make mistakes that I prevent. What is incomprehensible is having very young, junior pilots flying around TOGETHER. You have absolutely no idea of what you’re advocating or talking about. Telling me I can’t do this job as safely the day I turn 65 as the day prior? We get tested so much more than any other profession, yet can’t keep working. How’s about let’s at least start testing older politicians for THEIR mental/physical acuity…starting with….

    2. Eddie Guest

      The same generation of pilots that benefited from age 60, and age 65…. Most were hired in their 20’s and now think the junior guys are unsafe to crew a flight. I seem to recall that 30 year old captains on a A300, and young FO’s. … how responsible of you.

    3. Jacqueline Guest

      Agreed Bob is a silly fool

    4. Pj Guest

      Yes...Bob is a clown...he has no clue...I've got 25000 plus both Airlines and F16s...and can tell a lot about a copilot with in 45 sec of flying with them....if I saw Bob at the controls...my family would not fly with a clown...PERIOD
      U are a joke Bob

    5. Jim Guest

      Bob, I assume you are the one sitting in the right seat and looking left to those old folks. You will be them one day. You may look just about the same and wonder why your looks are slipping while your brain is still ripping. Your comment about terrible life expectancy is without merit. No one, including the FAA, ALPA, Airlines, APA, or ICAO have ever dare collect data on pilot life expectancy. Not a...

      Bob, I assume you are the one sitting in the right seat and looking left to those old folks. You will be them one day. You may look just about the same and wonder why your looks are slipping while your brain is still ripping. Your comment about terrible life expectancy is without merit. No one, including the FAA, ALPA, Airlines, APA, or ICAO have ever dare collect data on pilot life expectancy. Not a single study. As far as melanoma, I have no rebuttal other than to ask a similar question, which study are you referring to. This decision to increase or not increase the arbitrary mandatory retirement age for pilots will be done only if safety is number one on the decision tree. Just as is the case at all airlines, that safety is first, unless it costs money! That's why sage experience is so critical. Homework dude, homework.

    6. Jacqueline Guest

      But you think that cutting the required hours for a pilot is safer than a seasoned pilot. Think

    7. Pj Guest

      I'm sure u would chg ur tune if u were 64.. call a spade a spade...u don't want any impediment to ur career...I'd have alot more respect if you'd just tell the truth....
      I'm retiring in about a year...hopefully 3 years so u can pull gear for me!

    8. Bemo Guest

      You are absolutely generalizing. You, if you
      are a troll stirring up a pot here having no evidence of what’s unsafe or NOT. Go away you fictional person you!

  18. O.O. Guest

    I am a carreer Airline pilot and former Instructor Pilot for the USAF. I have over 15,000 flying hours in both supersonic and subsonic aircraft.
    I cried the day the age was increased beyond 60 years to qualify for full retirement benefits. NO good that and increased retirement age can do will ever outweigh the risks of older pilots flying longer into their sunset years. At age 56 now and being with my airline...

    I am a carreer Airline pilot and former Instructor Pilot for the USAF. I have over 15,000 flying hours in both supersonic and subsonic aircraft.
    I cried the day the age was increased beyond 60 years to qualify for full retirement benefits. NO good that and increased retirement age can do will ever outweigh the risks of older pilots flying longer into their sunset years. At age 56 now and being with my airline over 22 years, I can tell you without reservation that once the age was raised to 65, I began, for the first time, flying with Captains who we say, "have their best flying years behind them". It is a strain on the EXPERIENCED First Officers when they are paired with a Capt who should be enjoying his retirement and his family instead of reporting for a job 5x a month where he is clearly overscheduled and overwhelmed - NOT by "Ops normal", but by challenges due to longer hours, less support personnel, schedule changes and reroutes that are "brutal but legal"....now imagine a First-Year Probationary pilot being the "better pilot of the two" in this same dynamic situation??
    In aviation, the understanding is "things always look normal ... right up til they look life threatening".
    It was interesting to see that play out SO MANY times in the USAF.
    I cringe at how often I am flying now with 1st year pilots at my company in an International Widebody jets - knowing I have to be the experience for both of us....AND I know that soon it will be true for me too: that my best flying days are behind me! God help us if a scenario is encountered that requires me at my best and a Fisrt Officer with years of experience.... and that day we have neither.

    1. Gary Butler Guest

      If you cried the day they raised the mandatory retirement age to 65 then I don’t want you in my cockpit if things go south.. maybe you should check your emotional stability. Perhaps it’s you that might not be fit.

  19. Ian Guest

    What’s the difference between 750 Cessna 172 hours and 1500 Cessna 172 hours when it comes to taking a first officer position with a regional airline. I had 250 hours at age 19 when I became a Learjet copilot for Hop-A-Jet in 1978. I flew my FAA 135 check in a Lear 25D, not in a simulator. It was a full checkride. Approach to stalls, steep turns at 60” not 45” as in 121, all...

    What’s the difference between 750 Cessna 172 hours and 1500 Cessna 172 hours when it comes to taking a first officer position with a regional airline. I had 250 hours at age 19 when I became a Learjet copilot for Hop-A-Jet in 1978. I flew my FAA 135 check in a Lear 25D, not in a simulator. It was a full checkride. Approach to stalls, steep turns at 60” not 45” as in 121, all non precision approaches and an ILS hand flown both engines and SE. full stop and touch and goes. The sooner AND YOUNGER you get in the jet THE BETTER proficient and confident pilot you will be. Old guys entering the profession almost NEVER become upgrade material. Thats a fact based on 40 years of major airline flying folks. 1500 hours, 750 makes no difference, in fact the longer one flies slow and low the harder the transition to fly high and fast. The 1500 hour rule was made through emotional hysteria and was a political show boat. This is my opinion based on solo and private pilot age 17, Learjet copilot age 19, FE age 21, ATP age 23 B-737, type ratings with experience PIC in B-737, 747, 757, 767, DC-9, A-320, A-330

  20. Wayne Guest

    Facts have shown we are healthy people. The health has increased substantially since the original mandatory 60 year retirement. People are living healthier longer lives. As pilots we not only have 2 medicals a year but also at least annual recurrent training and line checks.
    There are checks in place. Clearly if you still want to retire at 65 or even younger you can. why not let those who are physically and mentally who...

    Facts have shown we are healthy people. The health has increased substantially since the original mandatory 60 year retirement. People are living healthier longer lives. As pilots we not only have 2 medicals a year but also at least annual recurrent training and line checks.
    There are checks in place. Clearly if you still want to retire at 65 or even younger you can. why not let those who are physically and mentally who love there flying jobs work as long as they can.
    Let the the facts that people are healthier and living longer increase the age to 67/68

    Yes to increasing the age.

  21. Ryan Guest

    Ben, you left out the biggest problem…the airlines. Changing the retirement age gives the airline(s) ammo on retirement benefits. When I became a pilot, the retirement age was 60. This meant no matter what, I was going to be done with my main career and would be enjoying the fruits of my decades of labor. In the airline industry pilots are seen as a inconvenient, but yet necessary evil they must pay for. This is...

    Ben, you left out the biggest problem…the airlines. Changing the retirement age gives the airline(s) ammo on retirement benefits. When I became a pilot, the retirement age was 60. This meant no matter what, I was going to be done with my main career and would be enjoying the fruits of my decades of labor. In the airline industry pilots are seen as a inconvenient, but yet necessary evil they must pay for. This is why they are salivating at pilotless flight deck. We already have a medical that can kick us to the curb every 6 months and flight evaluations every 9-18 months that will do the same. Airlines will use this rule to further negotiate our benefits so that we never retire, but rather die at the yoke. My father in law, a doctor with his own practice, died at 69. I would like to have more than two years of “retirement” without feeling the need to work because a rule changed that gave them the ammo to degrade my benefits necessitating my continued service. There is not a pilot shortage. Only a shortage of people willing to work the most scrutinized job that can kick you to the curb for medical, performance, or economic turn at the drop of a hat.

  22. Amy Guest

    Which is safer... lowering the minimum number of hours from 1,500 to 750 or extending the retirement age by two years? What do statistics show about age and experience levels in aviation accidents?

    1. Aaron D. Guest

      Since raising the retirement age of an ATP to 65 from 60 there have been zero fatal accidents attributed to an airliner crashing because a 60+ year old pilot was incapacitated because of an age related medical issue. Whereas planes crash every year because an inexperienced pilot did something dumb. It's a very political issue but not a safety issue.

  23. Richard Eye Guest

    Raising the retirement age for ATPL holders makes complete and absolute sense. Pilots can retire any time they want, many are sharp and happy to work to 67 and beyond.

    We need to remind ourselves of the reason why airline employment eligibility was raised to 1500 hours.... Colgan Air flight 3407 and similar accidents. Do we truly need even just one more needless death at the hands of underqualified and/or fatigued flight crews?

    So .......

    Raising the retirement age for ATPL holders makes complete and absolute sense. Pilots can retire any time they want, many are sharp and happy to work to 67 and beyond.

    We need to remind ourselves of the reason why airline employment eligibility was raised to 1500 hours.... Colgan Air flight 3407 and similar accidents. Do we truly need even just one more needless death at the hands of underqualified and/or fatigued flight crews?

    So .... A reduction to half the current standard is not only dangerous but a backwards direction in terms of flight safety.

  24. RoJo Guest

    The 1500 hour rule came as knee jerk reaction to Colgan 3407 crash which was a tragic loss. But the grieving families more or less forced this legislation. It was not based in Data, rather just the logic that if pilots have more time before they join the airlines they will be better suited for the job.

    The main issues with that crash had more to do with airline training programs, fatigue, and a...

    The 1500 hour rule came as knee jerk reaction to Colgan 3407 crash which was a tragic loss. But the grieving families more or less forced this legislation. It was not based in Data, rather just the logic that if pilots have more time before they join the airlines they will be better suited for the job.

    The main issues with that crash had more to do with airline training programs, fatigue, and a lack of discipline, all issues that are not solved by increasing pilot requirements to 1500 hours do not solve.

    As someone who had to comply with this rule in the early 2010s to get my first airline job I can attest that I was no more prepared at 1500 hours than I was at 500. A-lot pilots end up spending that time building portion of their careers as a flight instructor. Instructors have very little time at the controls of aircraft because that time is prioritized for their student to learn how to fly.

    So myself as well as many other pilots see a large atrophy in our skills over the year or two it takes to build up to the 1500 hours.

    There are other ”time building” jobs that could better prepare pilots for the airlines. (ie. cargo charter) But the 1500 hour rule doesn’t stipulate what kind or quality of hours you get, only that you get 1500 hours.

    There are much much better ways to safely decrease the amount of hours need to be ready for role of airline pilot. These training programs are already being used in Europe and Asia to decrease the time needed to qualify as and airline pilot. Many are able to achieve the airline pilot role at 250 hours and are arguably better prepared for that job because every one of those 250 hours were tailored to prepare them to work in a crew environment as an airline pilot, opposed to burning holes in the sky talking to a student for 1500 hours like we do here.

    Really should be the blueprint for what we should do in then US

  25. Sparky787 New Member

    Unlike 2007 when ICAO had already changed the international retirement age to 65, this time if they changed the age in the U.S. to 67/68, U.S. airlines would need to remove pilots 65 and over from international flights. The airlines have been promoting a false narrative on the “pilot shortage.”

    In the U.S. we currently produce more ATP qualified pilots than the industry hires. The problem is many low paying fee-for-departure airlines, like Mesa...

    Unlike 2007 when ICAO had already changed the international retirement age to 65, this time if they changed the age in the U.S. to 67/68, U.S. airlines would need to remove pilots 65 and over from international flights. The airlines have been promoting a false narrative on the “pilot shortage.”

    In the U.S. we currently produce more ATP qualified pilots than the industry hires. The problem is many low paying fee-for-departure airlines, like Mesa and Republic, are struggling to hire when airlines like Spirit and Sun Country are also hiring entry level pilots to fly A320s and B737 for much higher pay.

  26. Chris Guest

    Why should the government mandate any retirement age at all. As long as a pilot continues to meet the minimum physical and airmanship standards, why shouldn't they be allowed to work until 90 if they are still able to do so.

    In the past, the mandated retirement age was 60. That was extended for the sole purpose of allowing pilots who were close to age 60 to work for 5 more years to bank some...

    Why should the government mandate any retirement age at all. As long as a pilot continues to meet the minimum physical and airmanship standards, why shouldn't they be allowed to work until 90 if they are still able to do so.

    In the past, the mandated retirement age was 60. That was extended for the sole purpose of allowing pilots who were close to age 60 to work for 5 more years to bank some money for retirement, since the bankruptcy courts allowed bankrupt airlines to steal money from pilot pensions to satisfy other creditors. It was a shameful period and the airlines have never given that OWED money back to pilots.

    The reason that some of us don't want 67 as a new retirement age is that our working conditions are purely governed by seniority. And some of us don't want to work until we're in the grave, we want to get out at 60 or 62 perhaps. But if we allow the most senior pilots to keep working until 67, that will inhibit our career progression and ability to move into higher paying jobs. I don't like the way its set up, but it's reality and we pilots are required to work within those constraints.

    Raising the mandatory age will only stifle the careers of less junior pilots and less our ability to make money.

    NO TO 67!

  27. Chris Guest

    40% of commercial pilots that retire at 65 die within 5 years. Are we trying to cut it to less than a year or my just long enough to clear employee parking. It's 65, get out of the seat and go finally be a part of your family and go buy cloths from somewhere besides the Salvation Army you greedy bastards. The 65 stagnation cost the entire industry

  28. Take Guest

    I agree 67 if he can continue ✈️

  29. SNR Guest

    What a joke.. 2 years ago everyone is being forced to retire , today the retirement age should be extended. Bottleneck the most junior into 2 years more of reserve while possibly further delaying contract negotiations. This buys the airlines time , it doesn’t resolve anything at all. Unions should be voicing against this. SOLVE the problem THEN talk about whether increasing the retirement age is the right thing to do.

  30. Dork Dorkus Guest

    Absolutely the mandatory retirement age should be changed to at least 67, if not 70.
    Hope this passes quickly! Common sense!

    1. Bob Guest

      You clearly want to work till the bitter end. Unlikely most pilots will make it to either of those ages. I would prefer to have at least a little life left when I retire.

  31. Captain Don Guest

    Let’s be honest! The FAA physical is a JOKE! First, before extending the mandatory retirement age, the FAA needs to make the physical more stringent and there needs to be better oversight of the AMEs doing the physical exams. There are AMEs out there who pencil whip physicals for airmen who seek those types of AMEs. They are well known.

    These are the standards of vision - distant vision correctable to 20/20 and near...

    Let’s be honest! The FAA physical is a JOKE! First, before extending the mandatory retirement age, the FAA needs to make the physical more stringent and there needs to be better oversight of the AMEs doing the physical exams. There are AMEs out there who pencil whip physicals for airmen who seek those types of AMEs. They are well known.

    These are the standards of vision - distant vision correctable to 20/20 and near vision correctable to 20/40, normal color vision, normal fields of vision, etc. Hearing standards - hear a conversational voice at a distance of 6 feet, with your back turned. Mental standards - no personality disorder, no psychosis, no bipolar, no substance dependency. Neurological standards - no epilepsy, no loss of conscientiousness or transient loss of nervous system function without satisfactory medical explanation of cause. And the ridiculous list goes on.

    All of these items can be overcome with a special issuance medical certificate. A waiver. This isn’t a serious medical. Even getting an EKG once a year doesn’t guarantee anything about the future of the applicant. All it does is show if there was a previous heart condition.

    You want to raise the age, then raise the medical standards that we airmen are to be subjected to. And I say this as an old guy who is nearing the end of my career. A wide body captain at a major airline.

    1. SMR Guest

      Nailed it!! The medical is such a joke and it’s the same medical from 40-65. So much more thought needs to go into this. Lindsey Graham is a compete moron and the public is highly uneducated to these matters.

    2. Mark Guest

      The choice is a 66 year old experienced pilot or hiring a very unqualified pilot with little flight time.

  32. Edward Cook Guest

    Commercial airline pilots have to pass a physical/health exam every six months conducted by an FAA designated Physician. Also, when a pilot reaches the age of 40 they are given an EKG every year. These FAA medical exams also include, but are not limited to, several types of visions tests, hearing tests, balance and coordination tests. All previous Doctor visits and medications are also reviewed.
    Pilots also go through simulator testing every year which...

    Commercial airline pilots have to pass a physical/health exam every six months conducted by an FAA designated Physician. Also, when a pilot reaches the age of 40 they are given an EKG every year. These FAA medical exams also include, but are not limited to, several types of visions tests, hearing tests, balance and coordination tests. All previous Doctor visits and medications are also reviewed.
    Pilots also go through simulator testing every year which not only test flying and safety compliance skills but if there is any cognitive behavioral, communication or reaction issues during these sim sessions, it will definitely be a red flag to the examiners and very likely the pilot would not pass the event satisfactorily. So why not let them fly if they are fit? Passengers and airline managers should be vary appreciative of the years of experience.

  33. P. Bright Guest

    The continuing training requirements that are required of Airline Pilots as well as the medical licensing every 6 months will reduce any negative effects of raising the retirement age in my judgement. That being said, lowering experience standards can only result in an increased accident rate. As it stands now, candidates do not need the 1500 hrs. to get an ATP or to get hired by the airlines. If you are part of an approved...

    The continuing training requirements that are required of Airline Pilots as well as the medical licensing every 6 months will reduce any negative effects of raising the retirement age in my judgement. That being said, lowering experience standards can only result in an increased accident rate. As it stands now, candidates do not need the 1500 hrs. to get an ATP or to get hired by the airlines. If you are part of an approved part 141 approved flight school, you can do this in 1250 hrs. and being an instructor in just such a school, several of my students have already been hired at a regional airline with 1100 hrs. and were told that the airline would get them the other 150 hrs. needed. These pilots have NO EXPERIENCE outside the training environment and you want to put them behind the wheel of an airliner full of passengers. My 35 years flying for the airlines before which I flew corporate and jet charter along with teaching in a FAR part 141 college flight program tell me that the lowering of standards for new hire pilots can only lead to disaster. Another aspect I have not seen mentioned is the fact that using such low time and low experience pilots will increase the workload to a huge degree on the Captain of that flight.

    1. SMR Guest

      We are in the safest period in aviation history. Don’t touch the 1500 hour rule and don’t touch the retirement age. Nothing is broken except the regional airlines themselves.

  34. Captain Bud Guest

    If the age went to 67, the senior pilots that typically fly the wide body international wouldn’t be allowed to fly to Europe where the retirement age is 65.
    I retired when the mandatory age was 60 and can attest to the fact that multiple time changes are exhausting and it takes a few days off to get back to normal only to go do it again.

  35. Benny Guest

    The issue will be flying abroad since ICAO & FAA. & EASA are not willing to rise the retirement age.

  36. Christina Guest

    There are a number of issues to address on this topic. Since a pilot can choose to retire early, it will not affect that group. May want to continue flying, and since pilots are subject to such intense scrutiny regarding their health, I see no harm n increasing the retirement age. If there is a mental competency concern, it can be addressed with annual/semi-annual testing for cognitive ability. Since social security at 65 is less...

    There are a number of issues to address on this topic. Since a pilot can choose to retire early, it will not affect that group. May want to continue flying, and since pilots are subject to such intense scrutiny regarding their health, I see no harm n increasing the retirement age. If there is a mental competency concern, it can be addressed with annual/semi-annual testing for cognitive ability. Since social security at 65 is less then at 67, pilots are being cheated if they want to fly longer, but are not permitted to do so, yet want to increase their SSA benefit by waiting an extra 2 years. If the POTUS, SCOTUS, and most other professionals, whose cognitive and physical health can affect their ability to perform their jobs competently are permitted to work well past the age of 65, then why not pilots? As to reducing the # of flight hours per year - that’s garbage. That will reduce pay for career long pilots, many of whom have been cheated out of pensions, been furloughed over the years and taken reduction in pay for a variety of reasons. That would be an excuse to pay less experienced - i.e. JUNIOR pilots, to fly more hours, which would only benefit airline management in their efforts to increase the bottom line for the company, while cheating employees.

  37. Geez Guest

    If pilots chose to work longer by allowing them work to older age fine. But don't force everyone to work longer,but this is big money lobbyist pulling the strings of their paid for representatives

  38. Geez Guest

    Nothing sensible about this,they want people to work longer and harder for less chance of retirement

  39. Chris Guest

    Every pilot union is lobbying heavily against this.

    1. 320 flyer Guest

      As an ALPA member of a legacy airline I have not seen signs of the union lobbying against it. They have let us know about the likelihood of the legislation being advanced.

    2. Jim Guest

      As a 34 year pilot at one of the biggies, our Union is not saying anything.

  40. Mike Guest

    I am for it I am hopeful this happens as I want to continue flying, retire and seat at home.
    I have already written to all my congress and senate representatives asking to please back this bill up !! I sure hope they do

  41. JorgeGeorge Paez Guest

    Or maybe just have less flights? Then prices go up and airline stockholders make tons 'O dough and debts get paid off?
    And airlines can claim they are reducing their carbon footprint and still making money?
    People who can't afford to fly stay home and revitalize their ocal communities with local spending?
    Sounds like a winner!
    Or just throw more kindling on the fire as the planet burns.
    Your choice.....

  42. Lightning1 Guest

    I had to retire 2 years ago. I wrote congress men and senators about raising retirement ago to no avail. I wasn't ready to retire and this shortage had been predicted long ago. Nothing happens in government till it's crisis mode. If they did their job instead of pad their accounts this shortage would have been minimized.

  43. Rolando Vidal Guest

    No one should be Force into retirement specially if they are fit, have the experience and further more, they love doing it!

  44. jetjock64 Guest

    I had a conversation with lawyer for the FAA when the FAA was fighting strongly against raising the age from 60 to 65 back in the late 1990s. I asked the lawyer what the FAA legal department was fighting this so hard (and winning, by the way), and he said "because they could." In other words, FAA lawyers didn't care so much about any scientific basis for determining fitness to fly, but just winning. Sad...

    I had a conversation with lawyer for the FAA when the FAA was fighting strongly against raising the age from 60 to 65 back in the late 1990s. I asked the lawyer what the FAA legal department was fighting this so hard (and winning, by the way), and he said "because they could." In other words, FAA lawyers didn't care so much about any scientific basis for determining fitness to fly, but just winning. Sad commentary on the legal profession--and I'm a lawyer (and pilot) who had to quit airline flying at 60, at the peak of my skills.

  45. Dave caffee Guest

    Flew corporate until age 68 with no health problems same air space as airlines should be a no brainer to extend the retirement age

  46. dander Guest

    most accidents are caused by pilots with thousands of hours. A pilot with 750 hours will not be a pilot in command. I am ok with that because they will be trained and have a senior pilot as a mentor

  47. KSB Guest

    The funny thing is, when they were offering early outs at my airline, criteria you had to be at least 63, they found more takers than they thought. We are paying for that now.

  48. 305 Guest

    Half of our government (which “rules the free world”) can be over 65 without any recertification/training or checks on their health. Let the pilots fly as long as they are willing/fit for duty. If not? Then put age and term limits on all government positions. It’s only fair

  49. jason pilot Guest

    Vast majority of us airline pilots are vehemently opposed to this. Get your facts straight

    1. A Coleman Guest

      And why are they opposed..?

    2. J.O. Guest

      Your are so wrong, Jason Your are the one that need to get your facts straight. Your are probably some microsoft flight simulator "pilot" or fly your C-152 in some dirt airstrip. Show me your data. We are not opposed and I do fly for a major legacy US airline.

    3. PJ Guest

      Yeah you are right...but if u took a poll of Capts who were 63 and above...it would be 100% for. If u took a poll of pilots less than 55...it would be 100% against.
      Call a spade a spade and don't say it cognitive ability...total BS...I'm a Caot for a legacy airline...and I'm 64...and I'll fly the pants off any 40 year old...not bragging...but I've got 25000 hrs plus...I think I know what makes...

      Yeah you are right...but if u took a poll of Capts who were 63 and above...it would be 100% for. If u took a poll of pilots less than 55...it would be 100% against.
      Call a spade a spade and don't say it cognitive ability...total BS...I'm a Caot for a legacy airline...and I'm 64...and I'll fly the pants off any 40 year old...not bragging...but I've got 25000 hrs plus...I think I know what makes a good pilot...Young guys are very opposed bc they will be stagnated for 2 years.. that my friends is the bottom line why junior pilots oppose it...I just wish they'd have the balls to admit it

  50. Don Guest

    Given the fact it was built on political BS in the 1950s as a way for one greedy pilot at American Airlines to land a cushy management job and had zero to do with health issues it's beyond archaic to say the least.

  51. Tim Dunn Diamond

    65 is indeed long enough - many pilots are not interested in flying any longer and airline careers were stalled when the retirement age was raised from 60 to 65.
    The answer to solving the pilot shortage issue is a competency based process at the beginning of one's career - not hours.
    Adding more length of time to pilot careers should only be explored AFTER the process of adding NEW pilots is cleaned up

    1. Don Guest

      You can retire any day you choose . If the powers that be that impose a mandatory retirement date would also provide a mandatory retirement plan I would retire today. Why pilots allow a bunch lawyers dictate their career is baffling to me.

    2. Chris Guest

      This is just not true. Many retirement benefits at a lot of airlines union contracts are predicated on staying until mandatory retirement. You choose to retire early, you lose benefits.

  52. Jerry Diamond

    Too bad the senate doesn't apply this same rule to themselves. If they did, 37 Senators would have to retire today. 43 would retire by the end of the year.

    1. Max Guest

      And especially sleepy joe would not be in charge of the mess.

  53. airbus_jas Guest

    The ONLY pushback to this bill is going to be from junior pilots who demand instant gratification. There is anecdotal evidence (heresay, granted I have no immediate proof) that upgrades to the captain's seat are happening at both Fedex and Delta in less than 1.5 years. Upgrades in the least desirable aircraft in the least desirable city. But the upgrades are available nonetheless.

    This is the least amount of time for upgrade, in the...

    The ONLY pushback to this bill is going to be from junior pilots who demand instant gratification. There is anecdotal evidence (heresay, granted I have no immediate proof) that upgrades to the captain's seat are happening at both Fedex and Delta in less than 1.5 years. Upgrades in the least desirable aircraft in the least desirable city. But the upgrades are available nonetheless.

    This is the least amount of time for upgrade, in the HISTORY of modern commercial jet aviation. A two year wait is not going to hurt anyones overall career progression.

    In my case I waited 23.5 years to upgrade due to the backruptcies and terrorism in the early 2000's.

    Personally I am in favor of the bill, and I am in excellent physical and mental health.

    Yes it benefits me. However the pilot shortage IS REAL. Lowering the First Officer minimum below 1500 hours (as the Regional Airline Association wants) is unacceptable. The victims families of Colgan 3409 will tell you so.

    1. flycrk Guest

      There are pilots at Delta and United getting Captain bids in their first year. Not hearsay.

    2. MCOStu Guest

      The captain and first officer of the Colgan flight had 3,379 hours and 2,244 hours, respectively, which doesn't support your point.

    3. dander Guest

      How about the pilots that almost crashed at SFO with almost 10,000 hours?

  54. derek Guest

    There is no good test to test for mild dementia and loss of good judgment.

    On the other hand, lawyers always want you to prove it. Harm pilots by arbitrary age cutoffs? I got my rights! Sue!

    Delayed retirement hurts younger pilots, slowing their advancement.

  55. BBERRY Guest

    level 1
    Full_Pen_7418
    ·
    50 min. ago
    My husband is a 64, nearing 65 yo pilot flying 787's and loves it. He is active, healthy and sharp. Age should not define the retirement age. If you pass your Sim tests, maintain a healthy lifestyle, able to complete a physical fitness test (I've seen some younger, heavy pilots that can barely walk down the hall but are still flying), and get appropriate...

    level 1
    Full_Pen_7418
    ·
    50 min. ago
    My husband is a 64, nearing 65 yo pilot flying 787's and loves it. He is active, healthy and sharp. Age should not define the retirement age. If you pass your Sim tests, maintain a healthy lifestyle, able to complete a physical fitness test (I've seen some younger, heavy pilots that can barely walk down the hall but are still flying), and get appropriate health exams every 6-12 months (FAA could start with cognitive testing starting at 60 yo ), then you should be able to fly. Most people who don't have specific hobbies/activities to continue after retirement start a downhill slide in their health. And now, my husband who wants to continue flying will get a job that pays 1/3 of his salary to continue on the smaller planes. Thankfully, we don't necessarily need the money.

    1. Sherry Guest

      Well said! Ditto for my husband..

  56. Donna Diamond

    When you say requiring “fit” people to retire at an arbitrary age seems silly, but it seems every year a commercial airline pilot dies while in flight. Hard to understand how advanced heart disease is overlooked by the doctors who perform these flight physicals. But overall, I have no problem with the age increase.

    1. airbus_jas Guest

      This is false. No evidentiary information backs this up at all. "It seems" is not quite convincing.

    2. Donna Diamond

      @airbus_jas
      AA pilot dies in flight April 8, 2021; AA pilot dies in flight July 27, 2018; AA pilot dies in flight March 31, 2017. That’s just one airline. Any further questions or evidence?

    3. Edward Cook Guest

      Curious, what were the ages of these AA pilots dying in flight?

  57. Bobo Bolinski Guest

    "a major regional airline is asking the FAA to lower the minimum number of hours for airline pilots from 1,500 to 750, which seems logical."

    Might seem logical to you. Knowing a lot of 750-hour pilots who have never flown anything bigger than a Cessna, it doesn't sound like a great idea to me. 1500 hours is NOT a high bar to meet.

    1. sacrxy Guest

      Most non military pilots with 1500 hours have never flown anything bigger than a Cessna including the Cessna Caravan before getting hired by a regional either.

  58. Albert Guest

    This would not be welcome by the majority of today's airline pilots. The airline pilot profession is 100% a seniority-based profession. Your longevity with the company defines every aspect of what you can or cannot do from a career progression and quality-of-life standpoint. Kicking the can down the road by extending the mandatory retirement age even further just leads to more stagnation and fewer opportunities for younger pilots. 67 tomorrow, then 70 in a couple...

    This would not be welcome by the majority of today's airline pilots. The airline pilot profession is 100% a seniority-based profession. Your longevity with the company defines every aspect of what you can or cannot do from a career progression and quality-of-life standpoint. Kicking the can down the road by extending the mandatory retirement age even further just leads to more stagnation and fewer opportunities for younger pilots. 67 tomorrow, then 70 in a couple more years when the system problem of not enough pilots is still not fixed.

    Need to fix the reasons why people aren't entering this profession rather than just make it more lucrative for the would-be hangers-on at the top of the ladder. With near certainty I can tell you that the vast majority of airline pilots under the age of 55-60 are a hard Hell No on extending the retirement age further.

    Additionally, at what age does Senator Graham or other supporters propose some additional measure of cognitive testing to eliminate the risk of age-related cognitive decline in the cockpit? The current 2x/year medical exam for older airline pilots does not test cognitive ability AT ALL, and you can argue that the periodic check rides will not catch that either. Anybody can have a passable simulator check ride...but at some age, decline sets in, and will manifest itself at inopportune times. Don't want to be the passenger on that all-nighter to Europe, landing in bad weather, when fog sets in with the guys up front (because they were super senior and got that sweet trip).

    1. Will A. Guest

      I'm not a pilot, but I did follow some of their (public) deliberations back in 2007, and there were many pilots furious at the idea of raising the retirement age to 65. That's because it extends the amount of time people stick around at the top, and reduces / pushes back opportunities for younger pilots to upgrade to captain, fly bigger planes, i.e. make more money and fly better schedules. I'm sure raising it to 67 would encounter similar frustration.

    2. Pete Guest

      A bunch of old bastards that don't have a clue. Your health is good ..ok

    3. airbus_jas Guest

      Albert..."Even further just leads to more stagnation and fewer opportunities for younger pilots"

      This is total bull. There are upgrades going on at the major airlines and Fedex well inside of two years right now. That is the FARTHEST thing from stagnation. Is has never beren so EASY and so FAST to become a major airline captain. This is a fact.

      Your argument is flawed by emotion and contradiction to FACTS.

    4. Albert Guest

      Right. Because this industry has no history of downturns that disproportionately affect the bottom of the seniority list. Your argument is flawed by SHORTSIGHTEDNESS.

    5. Bob Guest

      Those upgrades you claim to be your evidence are positions you would never ever ever consider. The question that needs to be asked… why are those positions so junior? The answer is because they’re awful. They are junior because no one wants to work them… reality is exactly the opposite of your reasoning.

  59. globetrotter Guest

    Everything that comes out of Graham's mouth is always suspect. Employers often offer severance package to highest earning employees, typically beyond age 50. Apply to all ages if the industry downtown is severe. I wish Congress members and judicial appointees faced the same retirement age at 70. But they write and interpret the laws to serve their self-interests. Three Supreme Court justices died while serving on the court in the last two decades.

    1. derek Guest

      The mandatory retirement age for a president should be 65. Biden and Trump are both way past their sell by date.

  60. RetiredATLATC Gold

    And yet air traffic controller's in the US are still forced to retire at 56.

    1. Eskimo Guest

      I think it's less complicated to avoid catastrophe for 1 plane compared to hundreds of plane.
      Aging does affect reaction time and every second counts. Compound that to the whole sky.

      But IMHO, ATC would be automated and humans will be redundant in the future.

    2. The Joe Guest

      Happy to be forced out when the time comes (albeit I'm hoping to bail at 49-51). If I really need money, I'll move to a non-op position beforehand.

      @Eskimo... a good portion of things will be moving to automated. It may yet be awhile. In an Oxford study, ATC was ranked 178/700 of jobs (in order least likely to most likely) to be automated.

      But beyond that, first the FAA would need to move beyond tech from the 80s and 90s.

    3. RetiredATLATC Gold

      I left the day I turned 50.

    4. RC Guest

      I also fly for a major legacy US airline. I can with 100% certainty tell you “we” in the majority are against it. I think it’s great someone in their early 60’s can fly 11 days a month on a full widebody schedule and make that kind of money. Perhaps at 65 you want to exit the widebody and go back to NB domestic only? I’d buy that. Otherwise, don’t stagnate the profession. You want more years flying? Go get a corporate job.

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

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Jerry Diamond

Too bad the senate doesn't apply this same rule to themselves. If they did, 37 Senators would have to retire today. 43 would retire by the end of the year.

1
BBERRY Guest

level 1 Full_Pen_7418 · 50 min. ago My husband is a 64, nearing 65 yo pilot flying 787's and loves it. He is active, healthy and sharp. Age should not define the retirement age. If you pass your Sim tests, maintain a healthy lifestyle, able to complete a physical fitness test (I've seen some younger, heavy pilots that can barely walk down the hall but are still flying), and get appropriate health exams every 6-12 months (FAA could start with cognitive testing starting at 60 yo ), then you should be able to fly. Most people who don't have specific hobbies/activities to continue after retirement start a downhill slide in their health. And now, my husband who wants to continue flying will get a job that pays 1/3 of his salary to continue on the smaller planes. Thankfully, we don't necessarily need the money.

1
Bobo Bolinski Guest

<I>"a major regional airline is asking the FAA to lower the minimum number of hours for airline pilots from 1,500 to 750, which seems logical."</I> Might seem logical to you. Knowing a lot of 750-hour pilots who have never flown anything bigger than a Cessna, it doesn't sound like a great idea to me. 1500 hours is NOT a high bar to meet.

1
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