Age-60 Decision Near

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FocusFAA, the FAA’s internal newsletter, says the online publication of the report of a committee looking at the contentious mandatory retirement of airline pilots at age 60 means FAA Administrator Marion Blakey is close to making a decision. And if we're reading between the lines correctly, it would appear Blakey is prepared to fall in line with other members of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and allow pilots to keep flying until age 65 as long as there's another pilot younger than 60 in the cockpit with them. However, the newsletter says Blakey might need some legislative help to shield the government from a rash of lawsuits that could result from the move. The committee, which considered 18,000 comments from 5,500 people, recommended that the rule not be applied retroactively, meaning those who reach 60 before it goes into effect will not be allowed to get their jobs back. The newsletter says that if Blakey lacks the clout, "federal legislation might be required to protect companies and unions from lawsuits that might arise if pilots older than 60 claim age discrimination or other employment issues." There was no speculation when Blakey might make her move.