A pilot holds the thrusters of a United Airlines Boeing 787 at Newark Liberty International Airport in Newark, New Jersey, March 9, 2023.

Ed Jones | AFP | Getty Images

A House committee voted on Wednesday to raise the mandatory retirement age for commercial airline pilots to 67 from 65 as the industry grapples with a persistent shortage of pilots.

Members of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee voted 32-31 to include the measure in proposed legislation to reauthorize FAA programs for five years.

“It’s a modest increase, but it gives us some time to flesh out long-term solutions,” said Faye Malarkey Black, president of the Regional Airline Association, which represents smaller airlines that feed into the larger airlines.

The association had pushed for the bill to stop the loss of pilots as airlines ramp up their schedules and pilot hiring after shrinking during the Covid-19 pandemic by urging pilots to buy out. Airlines have blamed a shortage of pilots for reducing service, particularly in smaller cities.

The last time Congress raised the retirement age for pilots was in 2007 when it was raised from 60 to 65.

The committee voted 63-0 on the proposed FAA reauthorization bill on Wednesday, but now faces a vote in the full House. It is not clear whether the new provision for the retirement age will be in the final version of the bill or will be brought to a vote in either house.

Airline Pilots Association, the nation’s largest pilot labor union, representing pilots of major carriers such as Delta And unitedview this action.

“The reckless decision to move an amendment to change the legal retirement age for pilots, without consulting the agencies responsible for safety, or examining the potential implications of such a change as has been made elsewhere, is a politically motivated choice that betrays a basic understanding of aviation industry operations and the pilot’s profession,” the association said in a statement. and safety.”


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