Legislative Update: Mandatory Pilot Retirement Age
Numerous developments have recently occurred in Congress addressing a potential change to the FAR that sets a mandatory retirement age for airline pilots. The following is a synopsis:
H.R.1125 (The Freedom to Fly Act) introduced by Rep. Robin Hayes (R-N.C.) is the House equivalent to S.65 (see below). Even though it has garnered significant co-sponsorship, it contains some of the same shortcomings as S.65, and ALPA is not supporting this approach. H.R.1125 has not been subject to any hearings or votes, nor has it been incorporated into any other House legislation.
The FAA reauthorization bill has been passed by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. It contains language from Chairman James Oberstar (D-Minn.) that addresses the concerns expressed in the ALPA Executive Board resolution on any change to the rule. ALPA supports Chairman Oberstar’s language and approach to amending the upper age limit.
This amendment replicates the Oberstar language in the House FAA reauthorization bill that is designed to raise the upper age limit to 65. Additionally, it would clarify non-retroactivity, provide sufficient liability protection, prohibit unilateral changes to labor agreements and benefit plans, eliminate the over/under split for domestic operations, and make the rule change effective upon enactment of the 2008 Transportation Appropriations bill. On September 12, the Senate passed this bill by a vote of 88-7. The House version of the Transportation Appropriations bill, which was passed in July, has no language regarding mandatory pilot retirement age.
As of this writing, ALPA can make no predictions except that, with the Senate going on record in support of the Oberstar language, the Association hopes to continue making good progress toward final legislation that meets the requirements of the ALPA Executive Board resolution. ALPA will provide another update when the Congress moves forward on deciding how it will resolve the pilot mandatory retirement rule issue.
Regarding the possibility of an FAA NPRM to address its mandatory retirement rule, the FAA continues to work at drafting a proposed change in the regulation; but the public release of a draft rule is not expected until sometime in the first quarter of 2008.
Members can check for updates and other information on all legislation that affects pilots’ interests by logging into Crewroom.alpa.org and clicking on the “Legislation and Politics” link on the left.
Comments and questions regarding the mandatory pilot retirement age issue should be addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org.