ALPA Opposes Legislation to Increase Retirement Age for Professional Airline Pilots


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 or follow us on Twitter @ALPAPilots and @ALPACanada. 

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  1. No, the real issue here is that you are going to tell pilots that they MUST retire at 65 when so many are easily to work past that. You know what they do? They go fly corporate afterwards as long as they like because the rule doesn’t exist there. How about you put a forced age on flight attendants? No? Ok then you shouldn’t be able to do that to pilots. WE HAVE A RIGHT TO WORK! That’s discrimination. You can add more cognitive medical requirements at age 65 or something if you want, that’s perfectly acceptable in the name of safety. We already add medical checks along the way at age 40 with the EKG. Age 67 should pass. The con air door they want to put in…that is what shouldn’t.

    • Perhaps the age limit should apply to upper management instead.
      I was forced out at age 60, just a few months before the age 65 rule was passed. I had just had my retirement terminated by the Company and ALPA’s “Allocation Distribution Committee” decided that I should not receive any claim money. I was very fortunate to find a great Corporate job as a lead Captain on a Globsl Express. That was 15 years ago ! I’m still doing it at 75 years old. I pass a First Class every 6 months and I remember where I parked the plane, so I’ll keep doing it for a little while longer!


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