November 05, 2022 | Blog

Let Experienced Pilots Fly Act

On July 25, 2022, Senator Lindsey Graham (SC) introduced Senate Bill S.4607, entitled “Let Experienced Pilots Fly Act. The bill intends to amend §44729 of title 49, United States Code to allow commercial airline pilots continue to fly until reaching 67 years of age. The current law makes it mandatory for pilots to retire at age 65. The bill does not change any medical or training requirements and just like the current law, is not retroactive if enacted. A similar bill H.R. 8513, has been introduced in the House of Representatives by Representative Roy (GA).

The rationale behind raising the retirement age for both bills is to remedy the current pilot shortage by allowing the most experienced pilots continue to fly while new pilots enter the industry. In other parts of the world, mainly Europe, ICAO member countries allow pilots to fly internationally until age 65. However, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has proposed to ICAO to remove the maximum age limit altogether. According to online news service, the IATA is pressing ICAO to change the pilot retirement age to “revisit the legacy age limit” so as to not “constitute defacto age discrimination”.

Opponent such as the Airline Pilots Association (ALPA) claim that raising the age will 1) not increase air service, 2) not increase the supply of pilots, and 3) creates a risk to air safety.

As of this writing, both bills have not yet been sent to committee to be debated on. It’s still too early to say how this bill will survive in the near term. It is also unclear what the general public thinks about this idea.

What do you think?

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