On Wednesday, a measure to extend the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) aviation safety and infrastructure projects for the next five years was approved by a vote of 32 to 31 in the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
The required retirement age for commercial pilots in the United States was raised by a committee of the House of Representatives from 65 to 67.
Republican Representative Troy Nehls noted that while commercial pilots are forced into retirement at 65, the same pilots get jobs flying charter jets with no issues.
A House committee passed the nearly 800-page FAA measure with a 63-0 majority. The full House of Representatives is anticipated to take it up the following month.
Chairman of the committee and Republican Representative Sam Graves said that the measure is essential to the economy, jobs, and the nearly billion passengers flying commercially yearly.
Unions have objected to the proposed pilot age increase, and the bill’s fate is unknown in a U.S. Senate committee that will discuss its version of the FAA plan on Thursday.
The Regional Airline Association (RAA) applauded the increase in the minimum age for pilots after finding that 324 airports had lost, on average, a third of their air operations owing to a lack of pilots, resulting in more than 400 airplanes parking.
ALPA, the Association for airline pilots, has spoken out against upping the retirement age, citing potential disruptions to airline scheduling and flight training and the need to revisit pilot contracts as reasons for its opposition. The union pointed out that even if the plan were adopted, pilots over 65 would still be barred from flying in most locations outside the United States due to international regulations.
Pete Buttigieg, the current Secretary of Transportation, is against raising the mandatory retirement age for pilots.
The House plan would prohibit airlines from collecting family seating surcharges, but it would not mandate any new regulations on customer compensation for delays or mandate any minimum seat size criteria.