GREENVILLE, S.C. (WCBD) – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and fellow lawmakers are set to introduce legislation aimed at increasing the pilot retirement age from 65 to 67.
The Let Experienced Pilots Fly Act raises the mandatory commercial pilot retirement age. It requires pilots over 65 to maintain a first-class medical certification, which must be renewed every six months.
The bill comes at a time when airlines are struggling to maintain pilots and keep flights on track.
“With baby boomers making up half of the airline pilot population, roughly 5,000 fully qualified pilots are being forced to retire each year. The wave of forced pilot retirements continues even as hundreds of flights are being canceled due to a shortage of available pilots and crews,” Sen. Graham said in an announcement.
The retirement age for pilots in the United States was raised from 60 to 65 in 2007 after medical reports concluded age had an ‘insignificant impact’ on performance in the cockpit and there were safety precautions already in place to prevent accidents in case of incapacitation.
Sen. Graham said this legislation does not change or alter any other qualification beyond the age to become a commercial airline pilot.
Under the bill, air carriers must continue using pilot training and qualification programs approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).