ALPA’s Governing Bodies Grapple with Age 60 Issue

At its May meeting, ALPA’s Executive Board will consider a resolution from the Executive Council to modify the union’s Age 60 policy if it decides that such efforts are in the best interest of ALPA pilots.

The resolution comes on the heels of the FAA’s announcement that it will propose a new rule to allow pilots to fly until they are 65. The proposed rule would parallel the ICAO standard—either pilot or copilot may fly up to age 65 as long as the other crew member is under age 60.

Since the announcement, ALPA’s president, Capt. John Prater, established the ALPA Age 60 Blue Ribbon Panel to study the long-range effects of potential changes to the FAA Age 60 Rule and to identify issues connected to possible changes to pilot mandatory retirement age.

The Panel presented its preliminary report to the Council on April 24 which included issues that need to be addressed in legislation to change the Age 60 Rule. Currently, Congress is considering legislation—S. 65 and H.R. 1125—that would raise the upper age limit to 65 in multi-crew operations as long as the other required pilot is under 60; sunset the current FAA Age 60 Rule 30 days after the effective date which is the date of enactment; require the Secretary of Transportation within 30 days after the effective date to modify the regulation making it consistent with the statutory change; and establish that it would not be a basis for a claim of re-employment or seniority under any labor agreement.

ALPA expects that attempts will be made to attach or include S. 65 and H.R. 1125 in each chamber's version of the 2007 FAA reauthorization bills which the committees of jurisdiction are scheduling to debate and vote on in May or June.

The Blue Ribbon Panel concluded that provisions in both bills do not sufficiently address ALPA’s issues. Those issues include:

ALPA continues to collect information on this critical topic. For your opinion to be heard, eligible members MUST take the ALPA Age 60 Blue Ribbon Panel Survey. Although the survey results will not be the only factor the Board considers, it is an important aspect of the Board’s deliberation regarding the FAA Age 60 pilot retirement regulation.

More than 14,500 ALPA pilots have registered their opinions on the FAA Age 60 pilot retirement regulation via ALPA’s online survey. As of April 30, the top-10 pilot groups with the highest percentage of submissions are America West, FedEx, Northwest, ASTAR, Continental, Delta, United, Alaska, Hawaiian, and Atlas Air. The web-based survey began earlier this month and will remain open until May 10. Please log onto to access the survey.