WASHINGTON, Aug. 1 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Federal Aviation
Administration Administrator Marion C. Blakey could help to ease the
current U.S. airline pilot shortage and minimize inconvenient and even
dangerous airline delays by expediting the FAA's elimination of the
discriminatory "Age 60 Rule," and putting hundreds of America's most
experienced and best pilots back into the cockpit where they belong.
With its membership ranks now topping 250, the SPC's motto is: "Leave
No Pilot Behind." The Senior Pilots Coalition
(http://www.SeniorPilotsCoalition.org) is seeking in D.C. Circuit Court of
Appeals, DC Circuit to force the FAA to reconsider the agency's decision
not to grant waivers to a group of pilots who were arbitrarily forced to
stop flying at the age of 60. The FAA claims to be working toward the
desired rule change, but has yet to begin the rule-change procedure or even
just announce the date for the beginning of that process.
SPC President Lewis J. Tetlow, a Vietnam War vet and US Airways captain
who was forced into retirement when he turned 60 on April 2, 2007, said:
"The FAA needs to get out of the age discrimination business and into the
business of making sure there are enough pilots out there to keep our
airways safe and airlines flying on schedule. Today, we have an artificial
pilot shortage in America and needlessly dangerous, unreliable airline
service that could be remedied quickly by putting available pilots back on
the job now. It is clearly in the public's best interest to get these most
experienced pilots flying again and tapping the added margin of safety that
will come from their tens of thousands of additional flying hours."
Tetlow added: "It is an outrage that America's airline service has
degenerated to the point that we all know too well today. And it is even
more outrageous that age discrimination is one of the factors that has
helped speed the demise of what once was one of the proudest industries in
America and one of the most highly regarded. The FAA is deliberately
ignoring an obvious short-term fix that could be put into play almost
immediately to significantly improve the quality and safety of airline
service during the balance of this summer and in the upcoming holiday
U.S. airline passengers will lose the services of an estimated
5,000-8,000 of this nation's most experienced and trusted pilots -- many of
them Vietnam War and Gulf War I veterans -- if the Federal Aviation
Administration (FAA) continues to drag its feet on ending its
discriminatory "Age 60 Rule," according to the SPC.
Under the original Senior Pilots Coalition legal proceeding that
demanded immediate action by FAA Administrator Marion Blakey to overturn
the "Age 60 Rule" imposed in 1959, three pilots -- Lewis J. Tetlow, of
Bedford, N.H., Richard C. Morgan of Charlottesville, VA., and Joseph G.
LoVecchio, Lancaster, PA. -- asked the court to direct Blakey "to issue a
decision on each respondents pending request for an exemption from a
regulation forbidding them from flying as a pilot for their employer after
their 60th birthday." A total of 144 pilots hit by "Age 60 Rule"
discrimination now have similar legal challenges in the courts and before
With an estimated 1,200 American pilots already arbitrarily forced out
due to age at the rate of about 200 per month, the Senior Pilots Coalition
notes: (1) the "Age 60 Rule" was never based on scientific evidence about
the age and health of pilots; (2) Americans now live considerably longer
and are significantly healthier than they were in 1959; (3) airline pilots,
particularly those who have undergone military training, are an
extraordinarily fit group, particularly when compared to the rest of the
population; and (4) there is no known case on the record of an age related
in- air incident or accident attributed to the age of a pilot.
Tetlow said: "The 'Age 60 Rule' is an open-and-shut example of
age-based discrimination of the worst and most blatant kind. Trust me when
I say that these experienced and well-seasoned professionals are not the
pilots that Americans want to see given their walking papers."
Tetlow added: "The traveling public should be outraged that the FAA
grants more rights and privilges to foreign pilots in US air space then it
does for our own most experience senior veteran pilots. This is simply
absurd. U.S. airline pilots are unceremoniously thrown overboard at age 60,
while our airspace remains completely open to non-U.S. commercial airline
pilots over the age of 60."
To date, the FAA has paid only lip service to the notion of ending age
discrimination under the "Age 60 Rule." Even though FAA Administrator
Blakey acknowledged in a major speech on January 30, 2007 that "the time
has come" to change the "Age 60 Rule," her office has proposed a vague
timetable for action and has refused to grant individual waivers of
exemptions to the rule during the interim -- assuming that the FAA ever
decides to take action on the 48- year-old rule.
For a complete copy of the legal filing by the three pilots, go to
ABOUT THE SPC
Founded in February 2007, the fast-growing Senior Pilots Coalition
(http://www.SeniorPilotsCoalition.org) already has more than 250 members
across the United States. SPC is a national pilot organization dedicated to
ending age discrimination in the U.S. commercial airline industry.
SOURCE Senior Pilots Coalition, Washington, D.C.