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News Release

Release #01.18
March 13, 2001

ALPA Chief Weighs in on Retirement Rule for Pilots

WASHINGTON, D.C.---The head of the union that represents most of the nation’s airline pilots today told Congress that the mandatory retirement rule for pilots still is necessary for safety and should not be changed or repealed.

"The Age 60 Rule is based on two fundamental principles of medical science that are indisputable. First, the risks of incapacitation and unacceptable decrements in performance increase with age. Second, medical science has not developed a regimen of reliable tests that can be administered effectively to identify those aging pilots who are, or will become, incapacitated, or whose performance will decline to an unacceptable level," said Capt. Duane Woerth, president of the Air Line Pilots Association, International. He was testifying at hearings by the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. ALPA represents 59,000 airline pilots at 49 carriers in the U.S. and Canada.

"ALPA regards the Age 60 Rule as an extremely important safety regulation that should not be overturned without the full support and confidence of the FAA -- the agency that the Congress has charged with promulgating and enforcing such regulations. We applaud the FAA for resisting changing the Age 60 rule until a case can be made that safety will not be diminished."

"The Age 60 Rule is a safety regulation and should not be changed or repealed unless and until the FAA, not ALPA or any other pilots organization, is convinced, based on sufficient and conclusive evidence, that such action would not have a negative effect on safety. In ALPA’s view, that case has never been made," Woerth said.

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ALPA CONTACT: Don Skiados – 703-481-4440