According to an FAA Press Release issued today, the President has signed The Fair Treatment for Experienced Pilots Act into law effective December 13, 2007 and eliminated the “Age 60 Rule” that had been in effect since 1959. Under the new law, pilots up to the age of 65 will be able to crew a domestic flight and, for international flights, one pilot may be up to age 65 provided the other pilot is under age 60, consistent with the November 2006 International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standard.
The new law received near unanimous support from Congress and sailed through both the House and the Senate after it was stripped from the FAA funding bills that have been bogged down in both the House and Senate for quite some time. The legislation also averted a lengthy federal rule-making process that would otherwise have been required for the FAA to change the existing regulations. Although the law is not retroactive, airlines may rehire pilots who are under age 65 but who were forced to retire under the old Age 60 Rule. In light of the current pilot shortage faced by the airlines, it will be interesting to see how many pilots older than 60 the airlines actually re-hire.