Real Answers from Real Pilots

Retirement Age

Hello all , will the retirement age go up in the coming years for the airlines? Seems like the could use a couple more years out of the pilots.

Thanks, Jesse

Jesse,

Right now there are no plans from either the FAA or ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) to raise the retirement age. The age limit is in place to help assure the safety or air travel, I can’t imagine it changing anytime soon.

Chris

Ok thanks for the reply. I was just curious because I pilot I know at American said he could see it being raised to 67.

Jesse,

There have been rumors floating around about raising it to 67 since Japan did a few years ago. Keep in mind Japan has MUCH stricter medical requirements then we do (including BMI limits) and their pilots are generally much fitter than ours. Frankly I don’t think there are enough 65 yo pilots who could still pass a medical to have a major impact on the pilot shortage.

Adam

Perhaps, if the medical exams were adjusted more strictly in order to increase the retirement age to 67 then it would encourage our American pilots to become healthier! I know it would motivate me. What do you think, anyway we could change the dialogue around this issue?

Mary,

I think that’s a very good thought. Don’t know if you’ve seen the condition of many of the older pilots in the US but the majority would not pass a Japanese medical in their 50’s let alone in their 60’s. Perhaps if the standards were higher and jobs were in jeopardy a) the age could be extended safely and b) we’d have a much healthier pilot group. Unfortunately many people don’t pay their health that much attention until they have to. I flew with a Capt last year, older guy (early 60’s) who was incredibly fit and looked great. I asked him his “secret” and he said “it’s really simple, develop diabetes then have a MAJOR heart attack and almost die and lose your career. You get very health conscious”. :slight_smile:

Adam

Mary,

I don’t see the age limit changing anytime soon, if ever. It took an act of Congress (literally) to change it the first time, and there just doesn’t seem to be the momentum to make another change. The unions would fight any potential changes very hard.

Chris