Woerth to Serve as Co-Chairman of FAA Aviation Rulemaking Committee on Age 60

The Federal Aviation Administration announced today that it has formed an Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC) to examine its rule that restricts pilots from flying airliners as captains or first officers past age 60. The administration asked Capt. Duane Woerth, president of the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA), to serve as Co-Chairman of the committee.

“The FAA rule is a safety regulation first and foremost,” said Woerth. “I am honored that the FAA continues to respect the role that ALPA plays as an airline safety advocate. In that role, we will work hard to make sure that the Age 60 regulation is considered on the basis of sound science and safety risk. ALPA representatives will also be guided by our official policy in support of the current regulation.”

Despite its name, this ARC is strictly an advisory body. The FAA’s tasking asks the ARC to recommend whether the FAA should adopt an ICAO standard that allows airline pilots to fly to 65. The ARC is also tasked to make recommendations for implementing any resulting rule change. The FAA will ultimately decide what, if any, changes to the regulations will be made. Air Transport Association President James May was also appointed as Committee Co-Chairman. Three other ALPA representatives will serve on the committee.

The FAA’s action is a response to an amendment by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) that will be implemented in November 2006, to increase the “upper age limit” for airline pilots to age 65. The new ICAO standard also specifies that only one pilot in any crew may be over age 60. While the ICAO standard is non-binding and individual countries set their own regulations regarding the operational age limit, certain members of Congress have set the stage for action this year to direct the FAA to quickly adopt the ICAO standard.

“It is inappropriate for Congress to dictate safety standards to the FAA,” continued Woerth. “ALPA representatives on the ARC will take all steps necessary to ensure that pilot perspectives and safety considerations are included in any possible rule change implementation.”