Friday, May 25, 2007

ALPA now supports 'Age 60' rule change

ALPAThe Air line Pilots Association (ALPA) announced yesterday that its Executive Board had voted "to end the union's longstanding support for the FAA Age 60 mandatory retirement age for airline pilots." An ALPA press release about this change of position suggests that the union leadership realized the change was coming, and they want to have an active role in shaping details of the new rules. This is a complete turnaround for ALPA, which had previously supported mandatory retirement at age 60.

The news release specifies these as the priorities that ALPA now will advocate:
  • Appropriate legislative language to prevent retroactive application of a change to the Age 60 Rule, to the effect that: "No person over 60, except active flight deck crewmembers, on the effective date may serve as a pilot (captain or first officer) for a Part 121 airline unless such person is newly hired as a pilot on or after such effective date without credit for prior seniority or prior longevity for benefits or other terms related to length of service prior to the date of rehire under any labor agreement or employment policies of the air carrier."
  • Appropriate legislative language to ensure stronger liability protection for airlines and pilot unions in implementing a change to the rule, to the effect that: "Any action in conformance with this Act or with a regulation under this Act may not serve as a basis for liability or relief before any court or agency of the United States, or of any state or locality, nor may any action taken prior to the effective date of enactment on the basis of section 121.383(c) of title 14, Code of Federal Regulations as then in effect."
  • Ensuring that, under a defined benefit retirement plan, a change to the Age 60 Rule will not reduce a participant’s or beneficiary’s accrued benefit nor reduce a benefit to which a participant or beneficiary would have been entitled without enactment of such a change to the Rule.
  • Opposing any additional age-related diagnostic medical testing.
  • Opposing any attempt by the FAA to obtain greater access to pilot medical records.
  • Supporting FAA Air Surgeon Tilton’s recommendation to require a 1st Class Medical certification every six months for pilots over age 60.
  • Opposing for domestic operation the implementation of the ICAO standard that at least one pilot in the cockpit be under age 60. Once sufficient data on pilots over age 60 becomes available, unless the necessity for this mitigation for the long term is clearly shown, advocate for removal of the ICAO over/under mitigation for all operations.
  • Support the ability of a pilot to retire prior to the mandatory age without penalty.
ALPA's Executive Board also urged the union to continue to aggressively lobby for the adoption of the Akaka bill (which would provide full PBGC benefits to pilots who retire at age 60).