December 11, 2007 - The U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation this evening that would raise the pilot mandatory retirement age to 65 by a unanimous vote of 390-0. The measure, introduced by House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee Chairman James Oberstar (D-Minn.), is identical to the language already included in the House and Senate Transportation Appropriations conference report, which is now ensnared in the larger, unrelated fight over completing this year’s spending bills.
“I salute Chairman Oberstar and his colleagues for this bold step,” said Capt. John Prater, ALPA’s president. “The legislation passed by the House of Representatives is consistent with ALPA’s Executive Board resolution that is designed to protect the interests of airline pilots and this Association.”
Instrumental in achieving passage of the legislation were House Aviation Subcommittee Chairman Jerry Costello (D-Ill.) and committee members Rep. Robin Hayes (R-N.C.) and Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.).
The Fair Treatment for Experienced Pilots Act, H.R.4343, was introduced this morning and placed on the House suspension calendar, which is a special procedure used to speed up action by setting aside the regular rules of order and requiring a two-thirds majority vote for passage of legislation.
In addition to allowing Part 121 airline pilots to fly up to age 65, H.R.4343 will clarify non-retroactivity, provide sufficient liability protection for unions, prohibit unilateral changes to labor agreements and benefit plans, eliminate the over/under split for domestic operations, and make the rule change effective as of the date the legislation is enacted.
The Senate will now have to decide whether to bring the measure up under their own procedural motion, known as unanimous consent, in which a legislative matter is considered agreed to if no Senator on the floor objects. The Senate has already once before unanimously approved the language of H.R.4343 in the form of the Stevens amendment during debate of the Transportation Appropriations bill on September 11.