Labor Leaders Condemn Ill-Conceived Plan to Raise Pilot Retirement Age

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WASHINGTON—On the eve of a key vote in the Senate, labor leaders voiced their united opposition to a special-interest-driven proposal to raise the airline pilot retirement age in the United States. During a media call today, Capt. Jason Ambrosi, Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA) president; Liz Shuler, American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) president; and Greg Regan, president of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO, joined together in urging the Senate to pass a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization that does not raise the pilot retirement age.

“Increasing the pilot retirement age will disrupt airline operations, raise ticket prices, upend collective bargaining agreements, create a cascading and costly training backlog, and put the United States out of compliance with international standards,” said Ambrosi. “The FAA reauthorization is long overdue, and the FedEx near-miss at Austin last year and the Alaska 1282 door-plug accident are reminders that Congress must act now to give the FAA the direction it needs—without bowing to antiunion forces.”

As the Senate prepares for its markup of the FAA reauthorization on Thursday, February 8, special interests continue to promote misinformation and misleading data to manufacture a crisis about pilot supply, and their proposed solution—raising the pilot retirement age to 67—will have real complications for air travel byintroducing uncertainty into the system.

“Pilots do heroic work every day, always with the safety of passengers as their utmost priority,” said Shuler. “So when some politicians push arbitrary changes like raising the retirement age, it’s a slap in the face to the dedicated pilots who keep us all safe. We demand that the Senate rejects the ill-conceived proposal to raise pilots’ retirement age and, instead, focus on supporting the airline pilots who do so much to keep this country moving.”

Raising the pilot retirement age beyond 65 would put the United States out of compliance with international standards and disrupt airline operations. It would upend pilot bidding, create training backlogs, and require hard-fought-for collective bargaining agreements to be reopened.

“An increase to the pilot retirement age will reap no benefits to airlines, pilots, or passengers. The age-67 provision in the FAA reauthorization bill would single out the United States among the international standard and create operational and safety issues within our aviation system. As the nation’s largest transportation labor federation, we strongly urge Congress to oppose this policy,” said Regan.

Founded in 1931, ALPA is the largest airline pilot union in the world and represents more than 77,000 pilots, at 43 U.S. and Canadian airlines. Visit the ALPA website at alpa.org or follow us on Twitter @ALPAPilots. 

Last chance to make your voices heard, click here.

CONTACT: ALPA Media, 703-481-4440 or Media@alpa.org




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