Operational Ramifications Will Increase Costs and Introduce Unnecessary Risk
The Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA) opposes new legislation introduced by Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Representative Chip Roy (R-TX) today that attempts to raise the mandatory retirement age for professional airline pilots.
“This legislation is yet another attempt to distract the conversation from the real issue, which is that some U.S. airlines have clearly failed to plan for the industry’s comeback that we are experiencing today,” said Capt. Joe DePete, ALPA president. “ALPA strongly opposes this proposed legislation, as there is no reason to change the retirement age and doing so would only increase costs for airlines and introduce unnecessary risks to passengers and crew alike.”
The proposed legislation is another misguided attempt to solve a problem that does not exist. Numerous aviation stakeholders continue to circulate misinformation about a “pilot shortage” in the United States in an effort to relax safety regulations to broaden the pool of potential airline pilot candidates. According to current data from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the United States has produced 8,402 certificated pilots in the past 12 months, more than the total number of new pilots in all 2019.
“The plain truth is that airlines should take responsibility for their business decisions to cut or reduce service to less-profitable markets while adding service to high-demand communities. Instead, they’re making excuses that aren’t supported in fact or, far worse, calling for regulation rollbacks that would threaten safety,” added DePete.
In May, ALPA’s pilot leaders adopted a resolution opposing any attempts to increase the retirement age for professional airline pilots, citing the significant unintended consequences to aviation safety and the pilot workforce as a whole.
Founded in 1931, ALPA is the world’s largest pilot union, representing more than 65,000 pilots at 40 airlines in the United States and Canada. Visit the ALPA website at alpa.org or follow us on Twitter @ALPAPilots and @ALPACanada.