FAA to Propose Pilot Retirement Age Change

The FAA will propose adopting the new International Civil Aviation Organization standard that allows one pilot to be up to age 65 provided the other pilot is under age 60.


WASHINGTON, D.C. — Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Administrator Marion C. Blakey today announced that the FAA will propose to raise the mandatory retirement age for U.S. commercial pilots from 60 to 65. Speaking before pilots and aviation experts at the National Press Club, Blakey said that the agency plans to propose adopting the new International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standard that allows one pilot to be up to age 65 provided the other pilot is under age 60.

The FAA plans to issue a formal Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) later this year and will publish a final rule after careful consideration of all public comments, as required by law.

“A pilot’s experience counts — it’s an added margin of safety,” said Blakey. “Foreign airlines have demonstrated that experienced pilots in good health can fly beyond age 60 without compromising safety.”

On September 27, 2006, Administrator Blakey established a group of airline, labor and medical experts to recommend whether the United States should adopt the new ICAO standard and determine what actions would be necessary if the FAA were to change its rule. The Age 60 Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC) did not reach a consensus recommendation but did provide detailed insight and analysis that will be helpful as the FAA develops a rule.

Since 1959, the FAA has required that all U.S. pilots stop flying commercial airplanes at age 60. In November 2006, ICAO, the United Nations’ aviation organization, increased the upper age limit for pilots to age 65, provided that the other pilot is under age 60.

The November 29, 2006 Age 60 ARC report, appendices, and public comments are available online at http://dms.dot.gov, docket number 26139.

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