Details Are Devils For Some 60-Plus Pilots

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When Congress last year hurriedly passed the Fair Treatment for Experienced Pilots Act, which raised the mandatory retirement age for airline pilots to 65, nobody read the small print, say some age-60-plus pilots who have lost their jobs. About 3,000 pilots who were required to retire between Nov. 23, 2006, and Dec. 13, 2007, were specifically barred from being rehired at their same seniority levels, the Kansas City Star reported on Monday. The law also bars pilots from challenging the law in court. "I just donít see how Congress can do that," said Lew Tetlow, president of the Senior Pilots Coalition. He plans to challenge the law in federal court nonetheless. "The new law is poorly written and expressly denies carriers the right to treat older pilots fairly," says the group's lawyer, Jonathan Turley. "Congress clearly enacted this law with little understanding of its implications," he said. He added that a legislative remedy would be preferable to a court fight.

The law says the retired pilots can be rehired by the airlines, but must be treated as a new hire, at the bottom of the pay and seniority scale.