Press Release – FAA Statement on Pilot Retirement Age

December 14, 2007


The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) welcomes the legislation signed into law last night by the President that allows U.S. commercial pilots to fly until age 65. The determined efforts of Congress have averted a lengthy federal rulemaking process while enabling some of our nation’s most experienced pilots to keep flying.
Effective last night, the Fair Treatment for Experienced Pilots Act allows both pilots on a domestic flight to be up to age 65. For international flights, one pilot may be up to age 65 provided the other pilot is under age 60, consistent with the November 2006 International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standard.
While the law is not retroactive, airlines do have the option to rehire pilots who are under age 65. The rehiring of pilots is not mandatory and is the decision of each airline.
In January, the FAA announced that it would raise the retirement age for commercial pilots to 65. The mandatory federal rulemaking process would have taken 18 months to two years. The FAA took a renewed look at its longstanding rule in September 2006 with the help of aviation industry and medical experts who provided the agency with valuable insight and analysis. The “Age 60 Rule” had been in effect since 1959.

 

 

 

 

PUBLIC LAW 110–135—DEC. 13, 2007
FAIR TREATMENT FOR EXPERIENCED PILOTS
ACT
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Public Law 110–135
110th Congress
An Act
To amend title 49, United States Code, to modify age standards for pilots engaged
in commercial aviation operations.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of
the United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the ‘‘Fair Treatment for Experienced
Pilots Act’’.
SEC. 2. AGE STANDARDS FOR PILOTS.
(a) IN GENERAL.—Chapter 447 of title 49, United States Code,
is amended by adding at the end the following:
‘‘§ 44729. Age standards for pilots
‘‘(a) IN GENERAL.—Subject to the limitation in subsection (c),
a pilot may serve in multicrew covered operations until attaining
65 years of age.
‘‘(b) COVERED OPERATIONS DEFINED.—In this section, the term
‘covered operations’ means operations under part 121 of title 14,
Code of Federal Regulations.
‘‘(c) LIMITATION FOR INTERNATIONAL FLIGHTS.—
‘‘(1) APPLICABILITY OF ICAO STANDARD.—A pilot who has
attained 60 years of age may serve as pilot-in-command in
covered operations between the United States and another
country only if there is another pilot in the flight deck crew
who has not yet attained 60 years of age.
‘‘(2) SUNSET OF LIMITATION.—Paragraph (1) shall cease to
be effective on such date as the Convention on International
Civil Aviation provides that a pilot who has attained 60 years
of age may serve as pilot-in-command in international commercial
operations without regard to whether there is another
pilot in the flight deck crew who has not attained age 60.
‘‘(d) SUNSET OF AGE 60 RETIREMENT RULE.—On and after the
date of enactment of this section, section 121.383(c) of title 14,
Code of Federal Regulations, shall cease to be effective.
‘‘(e) APPLICABILITY.—
‘‘(1) NONRETROACTIVITY.—No person who has attained 60
years of age before the date of enactment of this section may
serve as a pilot for an air carrier engaged in covered operations
unless—
‘‘(A) such person is in the employment of that air
carrier in such operations on such date of enactment as
a required flight deck crew member; or
49 USC 40101
note.
Fair Treatment
for Experienced
Pilots Act.
Dec. 13, 2007
[H.R. 4343]
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‘‘(B) such person is newly hired by an air carrier as
a pilot on or after such date of enactment without credit
for prior seniority or prior longevity for benefits or other
terms related to length of service prior to the date of
rehire under any labor agreement or employment policies
of the air carrier.
‘‘(2) PROTECTION FOR COMPLIANCE.—An action taken in
conformance with this section, taken in conformance with a
regulation issued to carry out this section, or taken prior to
the date of enactment of this section in conformance with
section 121.383(c) of title 14, Code of Federal Regulations (as
in effect before such date of enactment), may not serve as
a basis for liability or relief in a proceeding, brought under
any employment law or regulation, before any court or agency
of the United States or of any State or locality.
‘‘(f) AMENDMENTS TO LABOR AGREEMENTS AND BENEFIT
PLANS.—Any amendment to a labor agreement or benefit plan
of an air carrier that is required to conform with the requirements
of this section or a regulation issued to carry out this section,
and is applicable to pilots represented for collective bargaining,
shall be made by agreement of the air carrier and the designated
bargaining representative of the pilots of the air carrier.
‘‘(g) MEDICAL STANDARDS AND RECORDS.—
‘‘(1) MEDICAL EXAMINATIONS AND STANDARDS.—Except as
provided by paragraph (2), a person serving as a pilot for
an air carrier engaged in covered operations shall not be subject
to different medical standards, or different, greater, or more
frequent medical examinations, on account of age unless the
Secretary determines (based on data received or studies published
after the date of enactment of this section) that different
medical standards, or different, greater, or more frequent medical
examinations, are needed to ensure an adequate level of
safety in flight.
‘‘(2) DURATION OF FIRST-CLASS MEDICAL CERTIFICATE.—No
person who has attained 60 years of age may serve as a pilot
of an air carrier engaged in covered operations unless the
person has a first-class medical certificate. Such a certificate
shall expire on the last day of the 6-month period following
the date of examination shown on the certificate.
‘‘(h) SAFETY.—
‘‘(1) TRAINING.—Each air carrier engaged in covered operations
shall continue to use pilot training and qualification
programs approved by the Federal Aviation Administration,
with specific emphasis on initial and recurrent training and
qualification of pilots who have attained 60 years of age, to
ensure continued acceptable levels of pilot skill and judgment.
‘‘(2) LINE EVALUATIONS.—Not later than 6 months after
the date of enactment of this section, and every 6 months
thereafter, an air carrier engaged in covered operations shall
evaluate the performance of each pilot of the air carrier who
has attained 60 years of age through a line check of such
pilot. Notwithstanding the preceding sentence, an air carrier
shall not be required to conduct for a 6-month period a line
check under this paragraph of a pilot serving as second-incommand
if the pilot has undergone a regularly scheduled
simulator evaluation during that period.
Deadlines.
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LEGISLATIVE HISTORY—H.R. 4343:
CONGRESSIONAL RECORD, Vol. 153 (2007):
Dec. 11, considered and passed House.
Dec. 12, considered and passed Senate.
Æ
‘‘(3) GAO REPORT.—Not later than 24 months after the
date of enactment of this section, the Comptroller General
shall submit to the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
of the House of Representatives and the Committee
on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate a
report concerning the effect, if any, on aviation safety of the
modification to pilot age standards made by subsection (a).’’.
(b) CLERICAL AMENDMENT.—The analysis for chapter 447 of
title 49, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end
the following:
‘‘44729. Age standards for pilots.’’.
Approved December 13, 2007.
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