View Full Version : Age 60 Hearing For Ex-Air Canada Pilot

20th Jun 2006, 22:09
The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal has scheduled a hearing into a complaint by a former Air Canada First Officer who was forced-retired as a result of the provisions of the collective agreement in force between Air Canada and its pilot union. That hearing will take place in January.

The Canadian government over 20 years ago abandoned maximum age limitations on airline pilot licensing (apparently on Constitutional grounds--contrary to the age discrimination provisions) but our current Human Rights Act exempts from the age discrimination prohibition situations "when the individual has reached the normal age of retirement for employees working in positions similar to the position of the individual."

The question thus becomes one of, what is the "normal" age of retirement for an airline pilot? Who is the "comparator group." In th case of Air Canada, should it include the domestic competition, or only the international carriers?

A group of us have applied to intervene in the hearing, in support of the Complainant, and we have set up a web site as a central resource to provide information in regard to the Age 60 issue. www.flypast60.com (http://www.flypast60.com)

I would be interested in receiving comments here from others who may face the same situation, particularly given the ICAO age restriction changes that are to take effect on November 23rd.

One question of interest to us, is what effect with the ICAO changes have on carriers flying into the U.S.A. if their government will no longer be able to prevent over-60 aged pilots-in-command from operating into and out of their airspace.

Warmest regards from Canada.

21st Jun 2006, 02:44
Just want to let you know in case you were unaware. WestJet has just recently recinded their age 60 rule and reinstated 2 Capts. back to the line.

Good luck in your attempt to abolish this rule at AC.

21st Jun 2006, 20:59
Were they reinstated after already having been terminated?

Was the reinstatement based on a legal process, such as a complaint similar to the one that we have before the Human Rights Commission?

My understanding is that WestJet pilots are not unionized, so it couldn't have been part of a grievance. Is there some other mechanism for the pilots themselves having there concerns raised with management--such as a pilot's committee?

21st Jun 2006, 23:15
WestJet policy was that you could continue to fly but right seat only. One Capt accepted that option , one quit.
No legal complaints were filed. Our pilot group was not happy with the situation and let that be known. Management decided that the right thing to do was to allow them to hold their Capt's position. They are built special "Canada Only" blocks and although this may prove to be troublesome in the future as more pilots reach 60 , we are hoping that challenges to this outdated ridiculous rule by groups such as yours and those currently challenging it in the US will prevail.

22nd Jun 2006, 01:26
Small problem with your union vote. It violates the Canadian Charter of Rights.
Aside from that it is interesting that the majority of AC pilots voted against it. Something like 90% of WestJet pilots were for it. I wonder why?
As for what one signs on for , I presume you will be happy with your pay and terms of employment when you were hired to remain the same until you retire.
We took the view at WestJet that not many guys would want to fly past 60 but we felt that those that did should be allowed to. Sure it slows the upgrades a little but who knows , by the time you turn 60 maybe you will want to or heaven forbid , have to fly past 60. It's nice to have the choice rather than to have a decision like that made for you.

22nd Jun 2006, 03:52
As you might imagine, I am not winning any popularity contests within my own pilot group. The poll that we conducted gave us results of about 4 to 1 against changing the Age 60 limit.

Almost everyone who signed on knew what to expect when they accepted the job. But that doesn't change the fact that a company and its pilot union can't "contract out" of the human rights legislation.

The Complainant, in our case, never made it to Captain status, primarily because he was denied a job in 1974 on the basis of his age (he has a letter from the VP expressly stating that he would have been hired, but for his age). When he was eventually hired, twelve years later, after the passage of the Human Rights legislation prohibiting discrimination on the basis of age, he had to comtemplate his impending forced retirement, at the same time that pilots of other Canadian airlines of his age were expecting to continue working.

The major problem we are having internally is not the substance of the dispute, but the emotion of the dispute.

22nd Jun 2006, 04:27
My post#5 was in response to someone who must have thought better of their post and deleted it.
It still puzzles me that the pilot group at AC is against flying past age 60. I'm quite confident that this antiquated law will be repealed long before it affects me but I was quite pleased to see the pilot group at WestJet fight to allow their "age enhanced" collegues to continue to fly.
What are the 75% who voted this down afraid of?

22nd Jun 2006, 08:22
What are the 75% who voted this down afraid of?

Let me guess ... you're already on captain's pay.

There are two types of pilots: those who will get more captain time if the age is extended, and those who will get more f/o time. It's all whose ox is being gored.

22nd Jun 2006, 14:14

Correct, I am a Captain. Although the money is important this issue is about more than that. The way I feel now , if the rules didn't change , I would probably move into the right seat to continue to fly. Some argue that ones lifespan is reduced by flying past 60. Others would argue that retirement puts some in their graves early.

I see where your going and it is a valid concern. I might have taken the same view when I was 25. Slower upgrades suck but I maintain that the number of Capt's actually taking advantage of a 60+ rule would not seriously impede ones promotion and that the small amount of extra time spent in the right seat would be more than worth the option to fly to 60-65 when that time comes , as it will to us all someday. A little pain now for a possible large gain later.

Still , in the AC example above , it is apparent that many Capt's voted this down and I think the situation is the same at ALPA. The ALPA situation is particularly perplexing with pensions being trashed in the US.

22nd Jun 2006, 17:01
At age 60 I'm on my way to spend my well-earned if not great pension on the life I've been giving up for the last thirty years. Carry on after 60 - you must be crazy !

22nd Jun 2006, 17:37

Hey , that's great. Enjoy your well deserved retirement.

I just think it's a little presumptuous of you to think anyone who would'nt want to do the same is crazy.

That's what this is all about. A matter of choice.

st patrick
22nd Jun 2006, 19:32
I would say the fear held by most AC pilots, is that if the rule changes, very soon they will be forced to fly beyond 60, by virtue of the fact that the airline will structure the pay grades accordingly. Take for example the situation faced in BA. Origionally BA pilots had to retire at 55 though the licencing authority allowed them to fly until 60. Now with a big hole in the pension fund, they are being forced (by the Company) to fly until 60.
Very often what starts out as an option quickly becomes compulsory.

Just my 5 cents worth!:rolleyes:

22nd Jun 2006, 19:57
My bet is it will not be too long before BA require their pilots to fly to 65 for their pensions and eventually until 68y.
My teenagers have been told to expect 68 by their career advisors....Could affect your career choice if your skills and medical health are tested every six months.

23rd Jun 2006, 01:44
There are many pilots who love flying as a lifelong enjoyable hobby. It devasted me when I reached 60 - one day in command of a 737 in Europe and a few hours after midnight too bloody old. I used to laugh decades ago when I saw the quaint sight of an airline pilot on his last flight at 60 being pushed away from his aeroplane in a wheel chair by cheering and of course well meaning colleagues. Not now I don't laugh, because I think it is sad - and I suspect the wheel chair occupant secretly felt a bit glum deep down.

For those on huge superannuation payouts their financial future till death do us part, was secure. To those of us who were never in the big money making airlines we still need to eat. A long time ago, some research of other concluded that forced age 60 retirement of airline pilots contributed to early deaths than the norm for other occupations. I would not be surprised at that.

Of course pilots well under the age of 60 would like to see the old codgers of 60 thrown out to get the seniority system a chance. I was probably one of them, although I don't recall specifics. It is well nigh impossible for a younger person to conceive that an over 60 pilot would really love his job so much he would want to continue to fly aeroplanes and enjoy the view from 41,000 ft.
There is no doubt in my mind (and I am well over 70 and a reasonably competent flying and simulator instructor thanks to a kind gesture by various operators), that providing one passes the usual medicals and one demonstrates the normal competency in regular simulator proficiency tests expected of an experienced airline pilot, the age 60 rule means SFA as a cut-off age for a captain or first officer.

23rd Jun 2006, 08:13
I wanted them to change the retirement age to 40 ( I am 40 ) :)

But they didn't so I will stay until 50 or so... I pray that I will not be, in effect, "forced to fly to 65"...

The best thing about loosing our pensions in the states is no more penalty for early retirement! (meant in jest)

How come the majority of people I meet that are in favour of changing the retirement age are 57-59 years old???

Where are the 30 and 40 year olds that are pushing for an extension of the mandatory retirement age?:rolleyes:

23rd Jun 2006, 09:02
Why would you want to continue when every year's extension beyond 55 might be 2 years off your life span?


(US pilots excluded due to your pension situation).

23rd Jun 2006, 14:06
It is foolish to compare WJ and AC's pilot's motivation for changing retirement age (ie: pension vs no pension) etc. AC is a large international airline and changing the rules would be brutal to deal with. "Canada only" pairings on the A340 or 777??? Imagine logistics of international flights with someone over 60 at the wheel "unable direct XXX due age 60 rule" When all of Europe and the rest of the world has a common age that's a different story. On machines where "Canada only" blocks are possible senority gets thrown out the window. I'm for people working longer so here's a solution - at age 60 retire or become RP's or EMJ f/o's in the position group payscale. EMJ "Canada only" blocks wouldn't be too bad for the company to handle and now ACPA might be nicer to it's young!

23rd Jun 2006, 18:08
I think you will find that date to be Nov 23 2006....

23rd Jun 2006, 19:07
Nov 23 sounds familiar as the date ICAO is allowing retirement up to 65, however each ICAO member can set it's own retirement limit. There are many ICAO countries not approving pilots up to 65 (currently Canada), and thus the possible problem. For example, as I understand it, a flight from A to B may not be able to overfly C with crew over that country's retirement age. Sounds tricky for crew sched, and throws senority based bidding out the window. Can't fly to/over US of A, countries B, C, and D after age 60, countries E, F, G after 62...

tropical wave
23rd Jun 2006, 23:49
The new ICAO age rule that comes into effect on Nov 23rd 2006,allows foreign crews up to age 65 [one per cockpit] to fly through,land and take off at ALL ICAO member states.If those states should have an age restriction, it would apply to local/domestic pilots only,not foreign crew.eg Part 128 carriers into the US.

Abel Coelho
24th Jun 2006, 01:27
b612, you schould read again the icao rule.:bored:
tropical wave, you are right.:ok:

24th Jun 2006, 05:39
Does the new rule allow crew aged 60 to 65 to still be captain?

24th Jun 2006, 06:51
Does the new rule allow crew aged 60 to 65 to still be captain?

IIRC yes but I believe one crew member on the flight deck MUST be under the age of 60 if the other one is over that age.

24th Jun 2006, 13:39
Here is a link to the ICAO web site, FAQ page, that clearly specifies the changes about to take place on November 23rd:


and here is a link to the actual wording of the regulation, on a different part of the site:


These and other links to relevant policy and legislation are posted on tohe www.flypast60.com (http://www.flypast60.com) web site, under the menu item Regulatory / ICAO.

Effective November 23rd, the ICAO standard age limit will be raised to 65, with two qualifications. Over age-60 Captains must have an under age-60 complementary crew member, and there is a change in the licensing renewal period from one year to six months.

The age restriction applies only to Captains, not First Officers.

The essence of this change is that although countries may file a "Difference," regarding their own licensing that allows a less restricted age limit for their own licence issuances, they can no longer prevent foreign carriers with over-60 year old Captains from entering into the airspace and/or landing at their airports.

This will end all of the "scheduling" difficulties that airlines with now over-60 year old Captains have, and will have a major impact on flight operations within countries such as the U.S.A., France and Italy that now prohibit carriers that have over-60 year old Captains from entering.

If the F.A.A. does not issue licences to its own citizens who are over-60, then everyone in the world will be able to fly into and out of the U.S.A. with over-60 year old Captains, except the Americans themselves.


Regarding the issue of what the majority of pilots at Air Canada find offensive about this complaint--I believe that it is the potential adverse economic impact that the change in the law will have on those pilots whose seniority and income will be affected by the reduction in the number of pilots moving off the top of the seniority list.

This is economically-related, not human rights-related. The allegation is that the senior Captains are being "greedy," that it is unfair to the less-senior pilots, for a number of reasons, including the fact that the senior Captains accepted the job knowing the rules, they benefited by those rules throughout their careers, and now when they have the best jobs and the best pay, they want to change the rules to benefit themselves to the detriment of their juniors.

That is the concern. There would be a greater acceptance of the change, I believe, if the change were to apply to everyone hired after the implementation of the change, effectively "grandfathering" the existing seniority rights of the now-employed junior pilots.

But that is not the question before the Tribunal. The question is not one of fairness (regardless of how one views the impact question) but rather one of whether the individual's human rights are being contravened.

24th Jun 2006, 14:14
Why stop at 65? It is just as arbitrary a number as 60 is.....this is pandora's box and it is being ripped open!

Lost in Saigon
24th Jun 2006, 14:26
You stop at 65 because that is the "Normal" retirement age in Canada for most people. (including pilots)

24th Jun 2006, 18:32
I can just see it now... It is 57 plus year olds that are pushing for a change to the age 60 rule here in the U.S. O.k. so if it changes to 65, I will bet a million pesos these same greedy people will be pushing for a change to age 68 as they approach age 63 etc....


The only way an increase in retirement age should take affect is for only new hire pilots to have the ability to fly to the new retirement age...


sec 3
25th Jun 2006, 01:58
You sound like one of those typically arrogant hot**** AC guys who had your little bubble burst a few times in the last few years first with the merging of lists with CAL, then with your little pay cut during the restructuring. Just like the hot**** AC guys who had their dose of reality off the end in NB with a tree stuck in the middle of their CRJ, or the guy who didn't know the difference between lbs and liters and ended up on some dragstrip in Manitoba.For heavens sake man, you work for the national flag carrier of Canada, world poster country for equal rights, non-discrimination and gay marriage.If a guy wants to work past 60,thats his bussiness.He's been with the company for many years and deserves the right to choose.Happy flying Air Canadas:cool:

25th Jun 2006, 06:38
On the contrary. I brought the issue here for a meaningful discussion in the international community, because the issue affects many, and the facts are sometimes elusive. My own motivation and situation are irrelevant.

25th Jun 2006, 11:29
UA320Cap, you're looking for a slightly younger Captain pushing for 65? Right here. Age 44 with a money purchase pension. I would love to knock off @ 60 but with this type of pension it might not be a good idea. Perhaps part time working (50% roster?) may suit. I just don't know right now. Either way I want the choice to be mine and not brought about by the turn of a page in the calender. Outside the luxury world of the boardroom and final salary pay schemes everyone's circumstances are different and the flexibility to continue to 65 will be vital.

We must ensure that the choice to work to 65 is available to those who need it.

25th Jun 2006, 13:51
If any "young" copilots are angry at the prospect of the retirement age moving to 65 because of their promotional prospects, think about this. There are many pilots from the UK who several years ago worked very hard to gain a CPL, and spent a great deal of money doing so when there were not many jobs to be had. Reaching the great day of licence issue was tempered by the moving of the goalposts during the qualifying period. In short, a CPL no longer offered the chance to get flying earn some money and gain experience, it simply meant, spend more money and back to school. Now it seems that there is to be another change to the regulations. Are those same chaps supposed to accept that it will not apply to them as it was not that way before. Of course its the older pilots that are happy (mostly) to see this change, the youngr ones will be just as happy in a few years time. Is it greedy to want to work for a living? Is it a healthy professional attitude to want to see a healthy 60 year old retired against his will, and his family suffer, to enhance the prospects of his collegues who will continue to 65? Not all captains were born with a silver spoon in their mouths, nor have they all been flying for so many years that retirement is welcome. Some of us had to do other jobs to find the money for flight training, and that don't happen when your a puppy.

25th Jun 2006, 16:03
Another interesting function of the ICAO change is that FAA license holders will be forced to gain a license from another ICAO country in order to gain employment to fly into their own country. Senate Bill 65 now has approaching 60 co-sponsors and will go before the Senate when Sen. Frist believes it will carry......possibly soon!

25th Jun 2006, 16:55
I refuse to fly with anyone over 60. Why? He may be over 60 - but I must be under 60. That´s discrimination against me.

Pack up granddads. Your not wanted. Your greed is going to force us all to fly to 65 or even later. Thanks a lot. :ugh:

25th Jun 2006, 21:05
Nowhere do I see anybody suggesting that pilots over 60 move to right seat. That would solve the upgrade problem for the junior guys and keep the older guys unretired.

Or am I being over-simplistic?

25th Jun 2006, 22:51
UA320Cap, you're looking for a slightly younger Captain pushing for 65? Right here. Age 44 with a money purchase pension. I would love to knock off @ 60 but with this type of pension it might not be a good idea. Perhaps part time working (50% roster?) may suit. I just don't know right now. Either way I want the choice to be mine and not brought about by the turn of a page in the calender. Outside the luxury world of the boardroom and final salary pay schemes everyone's circumstances are different and the flexibility to continue to 65 will be vital.

We must ensure that the choice to work to 65 is available to those who need it.

You sir are most honorable and I repsect your opinion then...I would gladly buy you a pint and discuss this in depth!

Just one thing, age 65 will still force you out at the turn of the calender no?;)


25th Jun 2006, 23:42
By its very definition, differences in age will result in differences in perspective and viewpoint. Ironically, those younger pilots who may be so vehemntly opposed to the 'grandads' still flying may not share that view when they too are 'grandads,' but still feel like 35 year olds!

When you are 18 does a 30 year old seem old? Sure he does. When you are 25 does a 40 year old seem old, and a 60 year old seem ancient? Sure they do. When you are 45, does a 50 year old seem old? Not really. When you are 60, do you feel like a 45 year old? probably.

Therein lies the problem.

I gather that Capt. Al Haynes retired soon after his Sioux City crash as he reaching 60; seems a pity to force that sort of experience off the flight deck arbitrarily.

26th Jun 2006, 07:05
I refuse to fly with anyone over 60. Why? He may be over 60 - but I must be under 60. That´s discrimination against me.

Pack up granddads. Your not wanted. Your greed is going to force us all to fly to 65 or even later. Thanks a lot. :ugh:


26th Jun 2006, 07:28
If my contract was the same as it was when I joined my company 27 years ago then I would agree with some of the comments on this forum, but it is not and my terms and conditions have changed to my disadvantage over the years. If by working till 65 allows me to recoup some of my benefits so be it.

We all pay to some extent (and rightly so) for anti discrimination legislation, cherry picking what we like and dislike is not an option, live with it, its called progress.

26th Jun 2006, 08:08
Nitekos, Bugcrusher,
I concur:ok:
As for Kingsnake, no matter how much you rant and rave the only way out for you is to get another line of work if you don't like it .

26th Jun 2006, 09:10
As for Kingsnake, no matter how much you rant and rave the only way out for you is to get another line of work if you don't like it .

The current system supports Kingsnake's point of view and it has not changed yet at most companies, and probably won't change in most countries. So I guess you might have to look for another line of work. :O

Not all countries have such a touchy-feely bill of rights.

26th Jun 2006, 11:39
It has not changed yet, that I will agree with you.
Come Nov 2006, the retirement age will increase to 65 in most countries.
But more importantly no country that is an icao member can deny a pilot under the age of 65 the right to operate into it.
However my understanding is that the FAA will not increase the present retirement age of its licenced transport rated pilots, but since it too is a member of icao it must abide by the new icao age limits for foreign licenced pilots above 60 .
You would be fooling yourself if you think that companies with a retirement age of 60 will not increase it.
Its all to do with economics and the mighty dollar will always rule!(that and the shareholders)
Why would I look for another line of work? this one is fine by me and when they whack up my retirement age to abv 60 I will decide if and when thats what I want to do :ok:

tropical wave
26th Jun 2006, 12:48
The US and France are expected to file a'differences' with ICAO,however the day a foreign pilot above age 60 lands on US soil,many us pilots are expected to sue the us goverment for age discrimination, and apparently they will win easily.So i can see the FAA increasing the upper age limit to 65 very quickly.

26th Jun 2006, 12:59
I would be most interested in getting feedback on two areas related to the impact of the changing law and policy regarding the age standard.

First, how are legacy carriers and/or their unions reacting to the moving of the compulsory retirement age, particulary in Europe? Do any of the flag carriers plan to revisit their own current restrictions?

Second, the EU Employment Law Directive prohibits discrimination on the basis of age. How broad is the implementation of the Directive, and can countries opt-out so as to maintain the existing protections to their current work forces? When, if ever, does the Directive become mandatory, and how will that affect the existing carriers?

26th Jun 2006, 13:11
You would be fooling yourself if you think that companies with a retirement age of 60 will not increase it.
Its all to do with economics and the mighty dollar will always rule!(that and the shareholders)

faheel, my first comment was made firmly tongue-in-cheek. The poor Kingsnake has a point, and although the age limit might go up, there is no guarantee that the unions would let it pass. Remember that Kingsnake's vote counts the same as yours.

I do see a problem with your statement above. It certainly does not make sense to keep a pilot at top-scale, if you can replace him with a lower paid captain. And there are so many to choose from. In our company, a junior captain (who does everything a senior captain does), is paid between 35 - 50% less than his senior counterpart (depending on years service). I know that the beancounters have made this discovery, because we took this issue up with our company and they pointed out that they had substantial economic incentive to keep the retirement age where it was.

So we have a company that does not want the age limit up, an FO pool that certainly does not want it up, and young captains who don't care.

I am afraid that in at least some companies, the older captains will be outnumbered and will be forced out at 60 - no matter what ICAO says.

tropical wave
26th Jun 2006, 13:49
What about if the Co brings back the retired Capts on contract [for one year at a time] with less pay,no health,travel and pension benifits etc etc. Worth a thought.

26th Jun 2006, 14:34
What about if the Co brings back the retired Capts on contract [for one year at a time] with less pay,no health,travel and pension benifits etc etc. Worth a thought.

That is the current thinking, but again some technical issues have popped up.

Our scope clause refers to pilots on our seniority list. Contract pilots are not on this list, which will cause bypass pay to be paid to the SFO's that cannot upgrade due to the contract captains. This makes the financial burden on the company higher. I can see that the retirees will be offered contracts as FO's. If they are so desperate to continue flying, and if they really feel that they can contribute their experience to the company, then the right seat should not present a problem.

But then again, we are in the initial stages of research and discussions - things might change. With the senior captains in our company occupying the most sought after seats, a vote for increasing retirement age would probably be defeated. A lot of our captains are quite young and all the FO's will probably vote against it.

26th Jun 2006, 14:38
I understand what you are saying about keeping older people on at a much higher payscale than someone further down the list.However airlines that do not adapt will fall by the wayside.
Look at what has happened to your majors, have not they all gone into chapter 11 except for American?
When they come out (if they do) they all without exception pay vastly lower salaries then before they went in.
How can American compete with that? By reducing costs or increasing revenue or both thats the only way.
Something has got to give and with the price of fuel soaring the easy way is to reduce salaries and pensions.
Airlines will restructure, pay less and like it or not it will happen to everyone.
So your utopian view that the status quo will remain the same is just not valid.
My own Airliine (in SE Asia) has restructured and pay is now very much productivity driven. Pesonaly I do not have a problem with that, but the only pension I get is what I make for myself, compare that to the huge pension debt that the US airlines have to service.
As I said it is unsustainable.
So what will happen is that the split between new captains and older ones will shrink and pilots will have to retire later to fund their retirement.
You and I got into this game 20 years too late .:*

26th Jun 2006, 14:53

I completely understand the sentiment and reasoning. I am currently in the position where age 60/65 cannot hurt me, but as union rep, we have to look at everybody in the pilot pool, and that means a referendum. Unfortunately, the guys pushing for higher retirement age in my company are really hurting their cause by talking down to the FO's who they need to educate/convince.

SA has the further problem that government would probably not get involved. All the senior captains are white, and need to go for the empowerment program to reach its goals. I cannot and will not comment about this part of the equation.

Even if all captains earned exactly the same, I still cannot see the direct economic advantage of keeping captains over 60. There might be indirect advantages from their depth of experience, which can most definitely save the company money operationally, but that is difficult to sell. We have also recently had a few senior guys go medically unfit. I realise that you cannot measure the group by some individuals, but these guys cost the company a lot of moolah until they finally retire medically, and the beancounters remember those things.

I hope that my comments are not construed as too negative. I am really just trying to give you the problems that we face selling this to our company.

26th Jun 2006, 15:13

I see where you are coming from.
The way I see it is for a given pilot all things being equal (and they never are are they)if the company extends his retirement age by 5 years then they get 5 years more productivity out of him(5 extra years to amortise the training cost) so therefore he saves them money.
A Very simplistic view, but it has to be considered.
Over here the training cost for a direct entry non endorsed captain is abt $130,000. I should say the bond is that amount.
However I would think that the real figure is not far from that when you consider accomodation, salary, sim time, a/c time ground school tickets etc.
It also runs for 5 years, so if an airline can push that out by that amount of time then the bottom line cost must be less.

26th Jun 2006, 15:57
Fixing a retirement age is about the biggest cause of angst in our profession. It is entirely dependent on your age and your position on the seniority list at the time that a decision has to be made.

I have recently retired at the age of 65 so perhaps my experiences are of some validity to the discussion.

My first compelling interest in the subject came when my airline was into laying off pilots (a furlough) because it was in financial trouble. Until that point I had not paid much attention to the age factor. I was about 40 years old and had only been in the left seat with this particular airline for about 2 years.

Because of my low seniority number I was obviously destined for a trip back into the right seat. This seemed manifestly unfair to me at the time and it seemed to me that the company would be better advised to get rid of the expensive old farts and keep us cheaper chappies in the left seat. That seemed to me to be terribly logical at the time but it was a belief that was based purely upon pure selfishness and not upon logic. After all, why should the guys who had been there right at the beginning and without whom the airline would not have become an airline in the first place be chucked out just because I was cheaper?

Then I got towards 60 which was the normal retirement age of the company that I was flying for at the time. They did however have a policy that pilots could carry on beyond 60 with the agreement of BOTH parties.

I was very much into training and was very happy to carry on if required. The company decided that they wanted to retain my services and I was happy to do so.

I suppose that I might have delayed someone's command upgrade by a few months but nobody ever complained. On the credit side a lot of my young F/O conversions from 275 hours on a Piper became Captains within a few years and a hell of a lot of young pilots were (and still are) very grateful for what I taught them.

So I have been on both sides of the spectrum and I really do not have the total answer for all of this. It simply depends on your age and seniority at the time.

Personally speaking, I don't think I really got beyond 40 years old in my way of thinking although I was 65 when I retired. Retirement age is very subjective. I know some pilots who are ready to retire at 50. In fact, I know a few pilots who should have quit at 35 and taken up something safer such as growing mushrooms!

26th Jun 2006, 17:04
I find it extremely interesting that 4 to 1 pilots in Air Canada who were polled supported the continued FORCED retirement at 60. One has to consider of course that the VAST majority of these will be young F/O's who simply see 'old Captains' as blocking their path to the left seat and some junior Captains who want to move onto a bigger and better paid aircraft command.
It would be very interesting to know how they would vote in the future when they themselves are approaching 60, perfectly fit and wish to continue doing what they love to do - FLY.
Even more sad is the attitude of the pilot's union - not only will they NOT support the pilots in their challenge of the 60 years old rule BUT are actively supporting the company - that is SAD.
Tail wagging the dog comes to mind; not unknown though!
Furthermore, you will all know my opinion of old, each and everyone of us is different. Some want to retire to grow roses at 50 - good luck to them; some want to retire at 55 and sail around the world - good luck to them; some are happy to retire at 60 and go live in Marbella on their big fat pension - good luck to them too; BUT for those who are fit, pass a Class 1 medical and can pass their simulator check rides - THEY MUST BE PERMITTED TO WORK UNTIL THEY WANT TO RETIRE. It is not only ILLEGAL to discriminate on the basis of age it it IMMORAL.

26th Jun 2006, 17:26
BUT for those who are fit, pass a Class 1 medical and can pass their simulator check rides - THEY MUST BE PERMITTED TO WORK UNTIL THEY WANT TO RETIRE. It is not only ILLEGAL to discriminate on the basis of age it it IMMORAL.

If you pop an artery from excitement, you definitely won't pass your Class 1 medical sir. ;)

It is not illegal everywhere, and in any case their are lots of cases where that particular law is overuled by other considerations. You can only play on the Senior Golf tour if you are over 50, you can only get a driver's licence if you are over 18, etc.

Whether it is immoral depends on your point of view.

Sorry Ali, I am not winding you up. I am convinced that the mandatory retirement age will change, but I think that it won't happen everywhere overnight. In fact I would say it might take another 5 years or more to percolate through the majority of the industry.

You will know that a bill of rights is not absolute. All rights are subject to certain provisors. If anyone makes a convincing argument that a 65 year old captain is potentially, incrementally more dangerous than say a 60 year old, you will find that the bill of rights will be overruled.

I have no answers for this situation, but I have been involved in research and negotiations on this matter and it is a lot easier to state your particular point of view, than it is to get through the miriad of union agreements, laws and regulations in an ordered fashion and with a counter argument for any attack the FO's or for that matter, the company, can launch.

27th Jun 2006, 11:12
Originally posted by nugpot If anyone makes a convincing argument that a 65 year old captain is potentially, incrementally more dangerous than say a 60 year old, you will find that the bill of rights will be overruled.
However by the same token, there is NO firm MEDICAL or OPERATIONAL evidence that a 65 year old pilot is more or less dangerous than a 60 year old pilot.
I simply state the obvious again - if a pilot is fit enough to satisfy a duly qulaified and experienced Aircrew Medical Examiner that he/she is fit to hold a Class 1 Medical AND is able to pass all his/her simulator and other mandatory required checks THEN IT IS IMMORAL to force that person to stop working just because of some archaic rule/regulation.:ugh:

27th Jun 2006, 12:32
However by the same token, there is NO firm MEDICAL or OPERATIONAL evidence that a 65 year old pilot is more or less dangerous than a 60 year old pilot.

I never said there was evidence. Just as the smoking vs anti-smoking crowds and the gun vs anti-gun people, you can prove anything if you study the right sample. You know the saying about lies, damn lies and statistics......
I simply state the obvious again
I understood your point of view the first time.
THEN IT IS IMMORAL to force that person to stop working
Just a small technical correction. You are not forced to stop working, or even to stop flying. You are retiring from your current airline, as per the contract you signed with them when you joined.

27th Jun 2006, 17:11
In addition to the question of age discrimination (or compulsory retirement based on age) at various carriers, I would be very interested in finding out if there are still other forms of discrimination that your carriers maintain.

For example, do any carriers still not hire female pilots? Do some carriers still have maximum age limits for their flight attendants? If so, are these the same carriers that have lower maximum age limits on pilots?

Do any carriers engage in forms of discriminition such as ethnic background (positive or negative), height, or visual correction limitations etc? Nationality restrictions?

Do carriers engage in forms of reverse-discrimination, such as affirmative-action programs?

Any of this factual background c ould be very helpful to us at our hearing before the Tribunal

27th Jun 2006, 23:46
Raymond, why don't you just look at Air Canada Jazz, they have a few guys going beyond age 60, infact two retired last year at 65, even the ones suing your sorry ass probably wouldn't mind talking to you.

Five Green
28th Jun 2006, 07:26
I am an FO just shy of command. Although here in Asia a command is by no means guarranteed. So I am not in favour of retirement being extended to 65. I for one hope to be able to retire earlier than that !!
Mercenary Ali:
I used to fly corporate with a captain who was 70. So I ask you :if we are all fit and able to pass a medical then should we be flying at 65,66,67,68 etc. It is all a line in the sand and not legal or immoral.
Any advance of retirement age has a negative affect on commands in the following scenarios : if you join an airline at an older age, if the airline downsizes or stagnates, if the captains in your base/domicile etc. are younger than the average, Long Haul (as it has a Captain to FO ratio of almost 3 to 1.), and if a merger occurs.
All of the above scenarios mean that you will spend less time at the command pay. Yes you get the extra years but the best case scenario is that you will the same number of years as a Captain, but you will be older when you get there and the extra you make is the 5 years on FO salary. The worst case scenario is that during those extra five years the movement slows or stops. In this case you will get less time in the left seat when you eventually get there.
The only thing off setting this, is the industry's current large expansion. As we all know expansion will be followed by stagnation or lack of growth. So if you are more than a few years away from command age 65 is bad news. Even if you are a young commander and do not get up the seniority list far enough you could be at risk of being back in the right seat and then stuck there for longer.
I am not a doomsdayer but believe when you analyse the retirement age you have to be realistic. As with many things I do not want to see this go through only to regret it later.
Is love of flying really enough to justify longer lower paid career for those coming after ? Those retiring now have spent their careers in the best paying of aviation history and now we behind just want to protect what we have left.
Flack jacket on standing by...

28th Jun 2006, 16:16
It is not only ILLEGAL to discriminate on the basis of age it it IMMORAL.

Oh please.... Give us all you got, but lay off the morality claims.

You have benefited from the age 60 rule your entire career - earlier hire dates, earlier upgrades. Now that it no longer benefits you, you want it gone.

I totally understand your view from a monetary standpoint - but "morality" would dictate you step aside and let others get the same deal you got.

28th Jun 2006, 17:06
I have no problem with anyone who feels they want to retire to grow roses at 55 doing so. (Read my earlier posts)
OK maybe IMMORAL is the wrong word - just doggoned stupid would be more appropriate. In what other highly skilled profession would a company forceably retire their most experienced Human Resource JUST and ONLY JUST because they were born 60 years earlier? I mean come on, it is not rocket science - each must be given the CHOICE that is ALL we ask.
I have known guys of 50 who looked and acted like they were 70 - OK maybe there is a case for SOME being gently told it is time to hang up the headset BUT I have known guys who looked and acted 50 and were in fact almost 70 so - just give those of us who are able to pass their medical Class 1 and all those six monthly and annual checks the CHOICE.
And for those F/O's who just hate the thought of sitting in the right seat for another year or two, maybe it won't be so bad - you might just learn a thing or two EXTRA that might come in handy in the future! :)
I rest my case your Lordships!

29th Jun 2006, 00:38
And for those F/O's who just hate the thought of sitting in the right seat for another year or two[....]

Yep - I'm guilty as charged.

And you recall the feeling, no doubt!

29th Jun 2006, 10:26
I am left seat on the 777 but no way I want to coninue past age 56 (mand. ret. our company)
Let's make some room for the junior guys.
If you cannot let go....head to China or wherever where you can get a few more years in.

It is almost like all the minorities in this country who start ranting and raving about discrimination every time they want something to be done for their personal gain.

Five Green
29th Jun 2006, 13:28
Mercanary Ali :
I worked so hard on my post and it seems you either did not read it or that you have no rebuttal.

Now your argument for extending all our careers negatively is that I might learn something from you oh great and knowledgeable swami !

Just curious when you upgraded and what your background was. I am open to learning from anyone. If you have not passed all your vital knowledge on by 60 then what were you waiting for and what makes you think that the 50-55 year olds cannot pick up the training baton and run with it !!

Please re-read my post and give me your thoughts.


29th Jun 2006, 13:56
This is all very interesting reading but aviation is not the only affected vocation. The increase in retirement age is coming to most industries, like it or not. Pilots do not enjoy special consideration because of some notion of being a part of the elite section of society. There are many proffessions where there will be similar discontent from those who wish to ascend the stairs of promotion at a greater rate. It is not feasable to expect an individual to reject an offer that improves their employment contract (if a greater retirement age is to them an improvement) on the basis that another may have to wait longer for promotion. Working for a living is not always so easy, and finding a good job can be very difficult, I will not give it up until I have to, or want to. At the same time I enjoy to help anyone on the ladder that I can, but, do not expect me to jump off so you can pass.

tropical wave
29th Jun 2006, 14:26
I could'nt have said it better.

Five Green
30th Jun 2006, 01:40
Bug Crusher:

No one is disputing that the government and industry will most likely allow the retirement age to be extended. It is happening in India and elsewhere in Asia.

However at most airlines the age extension still needs to be voted into pilot contracts. It is at this stage that we must remember that it is not a good thing for anyone below that of a two or three year Captain.

So, you might want to extend but if the majority of your co-workers do not, then the contract should reflect that. Especially if that contracted extension is detrimental to the majority.

And by the way we are not "passing" you but only moving to the rank you were at when you finished your signed contract. If retirement gets extended it will be you who is "blocking" and some of us will not achieve the rank or scale that you did.


30th Jun 2006, 10:35
Nowhere in my contract does it state that I will retire, at any age. My employer has, on occasion, mentioned that they would be pleased if I were to continue for many years yet. I do not work for a large airline, nor have I ever wanted to, but I do understand and sympathise with the sentiments being aired here. There are still others in the wings waiting to take my place. But, realisticly, "us old farts" are not going to throw ourselves on the sword to make way for younger folk, why should we? And why should we be weeded out for another to take our place and then one day in the future agree to continue working until 65. And now tell me that won't happen. You all might as well get used to it, 65 is coming, it makes economic sense. And as long as pilots are employee's, they will be responding to job offer's and, as such, will have the opportunity to accept or decline whats on offer. If the contract for a co-worker is the cause of your discontent, I am sure you will have redress through the courts or arbitration if you have been harmed in any way by this. Me, I am just going to continue on, probably to 65, maybe longer who knows. Be happy:)

2nd Jul 2006, 02:25
We know that there are at present two bills before the U.S. Senate that would have the effect of overruling the F.A.A. rules. Have any other nations been tempted to introduce similar legislation? And have any of the "legacy" carriers embraced the changes yet, either in fact, or in prospect?

3rd Jul 2006, 00:36
POSTED AT 4:19 PM EDT ON 02/07/06

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Skies less friendly if you're over 60, AC pilots complain

Globe and Mail Update

A former Air Canada first officer wants the carrier to raise the mandatory retirement age for pilots to 65 from 60, part of a growing chorus in the cockpit that's accusing the airline of engaging in age discrimination.

“I should still be flying for Air Canada,” George Vilven said from his home in Airdrie, Alta., just north of Calgary.

Mr. Vilven, 62, said his “cognitive and motor skills” as the second pilot at the controls were in top form when Air Canada forced him into retirement after he turned 60 in August, 2003.

His complaint is scheduled to be presented in January in Ottawa to the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal, which has set aside 10 days to hear the case.

A group of pilots who belong to the Fly Past 60 Coalition is supporting Mr. Vilven's retire-at-65 campaign. Coalition members include Raymond Hall, an Air Canada pilot who turns 57 on Wednesday, and several other pilots who either are approaching 60 or recently turned 60.

Mr. Hall, who joined Air Canada 33 years ago, said he will have no choice but to leave the airline in July, 2009, unless the tribunal finds that the carrier is discriminating against its pilots on the basis of age.

Air Canada's current retirement policy is “contrary to his desire to exercise his right to remain employed,” the Fly Past 60 Coalition said in a recent submission to the tribunal.

Physical examinations every six months are already required for Air Canada pilots over 40, and that process would ensure that pilots above 60 stay at the top of their game, the coalition maintains. Regular “proficiency checks” for all pilots also ensure safety, it adds.

The International Civil Aviation Organization, an agency of the United Nations, may recommend this November that the retirement age for pilots be increased to 65 from 60, as long as one of the pilots in a two-pilot crew is younger than 60.

“The current policy has been in place since the 1960s and needs to be revisited,” Mr. Hall said in an interview.

Air Canada maintains that its retirement policy doesn't contravene the Canadian Human Rights Act. The country's flag carrier dismissed comparisons with smaller airlines that allow pilots to work under certain conditions beyond 60. For instance, Air Canada Jazz and WestJet Airlines Ltd. allow pilots to work only on domestic routes from 60 to 65, but those involve shorter hauls on average than Air Canada's extensive international network.

As well, Air Canada points out that major U.S. airlines continue to abide by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration's age-60 retirement rule for pilots while numerous foreign carriers have retirement ages ranging between 55 and 60. “Air Canada is a major international, intercontinental airline whose pilots must meet the requirements of the countries to which they fly,” the airline argues.

The Air Canada Pilots Association, which represents 3,100 members, conducted an April survey that indicated a sizable majority of the respondents want to keep the mandatory retirement age at 60. Of those who voted, 1,382 pilots supported the current system and 458 voted against it - a 3-to-1 margin in favour of the status quo.

ACPA's master executive council supports Air Canada's stance of defending the existing retirement policy. “ACPA believes it is a benefit for pilots to be able to retire at age 60 with a full pension,” the union said in a statement. “Retirees are not required to stop working entirely upon retirement. Many move on to other occupations, such as a flying instructor with Air Canada.”

The union also argues that junior-level pilots are able to climb the seniority ladder faster when senior-level pilots retire early. The more experienced the pilot, the better the aircraft, routes, schedules and pay.

But the Fly Past 60 Coalition insists that individual rights are being trampled. Air Canada captains who belong to the coalition include Grant Foster and David Powell-Williams, both 59. Recently retired Air Canada captains seeking to be reinstated include Kenwood Green, George Iddon and Ray Thwaites, all 60.

If the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal sides with Mr. Vilven, the original complainant, “it is conceivable that some persons recently forced to retire may be allowed to come back to work in their previous capacity,” the coalition said.