Airline Mandatory Retirement Age Raised

by Jonah

This week the President signed into law something that will affect our lives dramatically.

The House and Senate both unanimously passed a bill raising the mandatory retirement age for airline pilots from 60 to 65.

This new law makes common sense. Airline pilots that old have to undergo two physicals a year. Medicine is much more advanced and people are living longer than they were in the ’50’s when the age was capped. Pilots keeling over in the cockpit between age 60 and 65 really isn’t anything to worry about and is probably far outweighed by their valuable experience and learned wisdom in decision making. And it comes at a perfect time for the airline industry, which is finally recovering from September 11th and is currently suffering a severe pilot shortage.

What this means for us, though, is that the airlines will effectively stop hiring altogether to replace the normal number of pilots who retire each year, lasting until 2012. It also means that all the airlines will have the pick of the most experienced pilots in the world to hire as new first officers, should those who have already been forced into retirement decide to work a few more years.

Currently, Berck has the 3rd lowest seniority at his airline. Up until Thursday, it looked like he would jump up fairly quickly. Now it looks like he won’t go anywhere at all.

But… it also means that he was hired just in the nick of time. There’s no way he would be hired now. We are extremely lucky.

We’ll see how this plays out now.

[Berck’s note: I’m not sure it’s as dramatic as all that, but it certainly will have consequences I’m likely to notice. Let’s just hope I make it through training.]

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