As the Committee continues consideration of the Securing Growth and Robust Leadership in American Aviation Act, the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD) urges you to oppose the poison pill amendment outlined below. As the largest transportation labor federation representing 37 unions and millions of workers across the United States, safety is at the core of everything that we do. We appreciate the Committee’s commitment to ensuring that America’s aviation system remains the gold standard for safety.
If you have any questions or concerns about this vote recommendation, please do not hesitate to reach out to TTD’s Legislative Representative Lianne Endo at email@example.com.
Vote NO on amendment #37, offered by Rep. Nehls, to raise the mandatory retirement age for airline pilots from 65 to 67 years of age.
Raising the retirement age for airline pilots will have devastating consequences for public safety, pilot supply, and flight scheduling across the entire U.S. national airspace system.
The international standard for pilot retirement age is 65. By imprudently changing the statute so that the United States is not in compliance with international law will negatively impact travel, pilots, and the airline business. Pilots age 65-67 would not be able to fly out of the country and would have to displace junior pilots, setting up a huge training backlog, as pilots would have to retrain and requalify across the industry.
The amendment would also create a massive scheduling problem for airlines who would have to micromanage pilot flying and bidding in ways currently not contemplated. The legislation would also force pilot unions to open up and renegotiate their collective bargaining agreements following a series of hard fought for and settled agreements. These contract negotiations would require unions and management to seek new arrangements that restrict pilots’ current rights to bid on routes and aircraft and exposes airlines and unions to substantial litigation, as the current immunity provisions in law will no longer apply.
According to numerous studies, there is an increased risk of cardiovascular issues and diabetes in pilots beyond 65 years of age. Increasing the retirement age would likely result in much higher numbers of pilots on leave and unavailable to fly but nonetheless on payroll. Put simply, this would be a massive cost issue for airlines and ultimately borne by the public through increased ticket prices and fees.
Beyond the safety, union, supply, and scheduling concerns, this could potentially upend the national airspace system as we head into one of the busiest periods for commercial aviation.