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US House Passes Bill Raising Retirement Age for Pilots

'This transformative legislation, which required compromises from both sides, will improve the safety of the flying public, create good jobs and bolster the aviation workforce pipeline,' said Congressman Steve Cohen

The aviation industry could be subject to a number of reforms after a regulatory bill was passed by the House of Representatives.

If made law, the retirement age for pilots would be pushed from 65 to 67. 

House Resolution 3935, known as the Securing Growth and Robust Leadership in American Aviation Act, received widespread bipartisan support and passed following a 351-69 vote. The policy proposes several safety and infrastructure programs for the next five years and reauthorizes the Federal Aviation Administration. 

“This transformative legislation, which required compromises from both sides, will improve the safety of the flying public, create good jobs and bolster the aviation workforce pipeline, and take important steps to protect consumers, including those with disabilities,” said Congressman Steven Cohen of Tennessee, the ranking member of the Aviation Committee, in a July 20 statement

“Today, the House voted to bolster America’s global aviation leadership,” said Congressman Rick Larsen of Washington, the ranking member of the Transportation & Infrastructure Committee. “This good faith process yielded a bipartisan bill that will create a safer, cleaner, greener, and more accessible U.S. aviation system.”

Larsen called HR 3935 a “jobs bill” that will help “build the economy from the middle out and the bottom up.” The Democrat also said the bill “diversifies our workforce, recognizing how critical that effort is to our nation’s long-term economic success.”

Commercial airline pilots have held multiple demonstrations at major airports across the country in recent years to demand increased pay and better working conditions. They have expressed concerns about overscheduling and fatigue – especially as the travel industry rebounded from restrictions established during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Raising the retirement age for pilots has been widely regarded as a possible solution to the nationwide pilot shortage. South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham and Texas Congressman Chip Roy, both Republicans, previously introduced the “Let Experienced Pilots Fly” Act in July 2022 to raise the retirement age by two years. West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin and Arizona Senator Mark Kelly, both Democrats, supported the measure.

According to One Mile At a Time, “5,000 pilots in the United States are expected to be forced to retire in the next two years, and if this legislation passes, this would allow them to continue flying.”

The retirement age for pilots was raised from 60 to 65 in 2007. 

In addition to the pilot training requirements, the debate over HR 3935 largely focused on proposed consumer protections.

Many provisions in the legislation will affect airline consumers, including one that would roll back a Transportation Department regulation from 2011 requiring airlines to show the total price of a ticket upfront in advertising,” reports “Airlines could instead provide a link to the all-in price of a ticket.”

The policy will also prohibit airlines from charging families an additional fee to sit together.

Representatives from the Washington DC area refused to support the bill if it permitted additional long distance flights to and from Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, notes The New York Times. The House Ultimately voted 229 to 205 against a proposal that would have added seven round-trip flights sought by Delta Airlines from the airport, which is about five miles from the White House.

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