INHOFE RESPONDS TO FAA PILOT AGE ANNOUNCEMENT

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) today made the following statement in response to FAA Administrator Marion Blakey’s announcement that the FAA plans to abolish its arbitrary and discriminatory Age 60 Rule.
 
“FAA Administrator Marion Blakey’s proposal to end the Age 60 Rule is a step in the right direction,” Inhofe said.  “However, the harsh reality of the situation is that American pilots are already suffering under the current standards.  I have spoken with Administrator Blakey and she has agreed to consider addressing the impact to pilots stuck in the middle – those who will be forced to retire at age 60 before the new rule is enacted. 
 
“It is clear that there is much work yet to be done on behalf of our pilots and I will continue working to pass my ‘Freedom to Fly Act’ to expedite this rule change. My legislation will ensure that American pilots are granted the same rights and privileges as foreign pilots in accordance with the ICAO age standards.”
 
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Age 60 Rule, adopted in 1959 with no scientific evidence to support it, has come under increased scrutiny due to the recent adoption by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) of a new international retirement standard of age 65 on November 23, 2006.  This new standard has resulted in foreign pilots being allowed to fly in U.S. airspace while American pilots of the same age are denied the same right.
 
Sen. Inhofe has introduced legislation in the 108th, 109th and 110th Congresses that seeks to increase the mandatory retirement age for commercial airline pilots from age 60 to 65. Inhofe’s bipartisan “Freedom to Fly Act” (S.65) reflects ICAO’s standard of allowing pilots to fly until age 65 as long as they are accompanied by a co-pilot who is under the age of 60.  The legislation’s language would require the change to go into effect within 30 days of passage. Sen. Inhofe’s legislation currently has eleven bipartisan cosponsors including Sens. Lieberman (I-Conn.), Feingold (D-Wis.) and Stevens (R-Alaska).