A bipartisan group of senators is calling for the mandatory retirement age for airline pilots to be raised to 67 from 65. A similar bill was proposed by Sen. Lindsay Graham and other Republicans last year. This time Democrats Joe Manchin and Mark Kelly have joined the effort. The current proposal would require “rigorous medical screening” every six months, according to Reuters. Graham said about 5,000 pilots will have to retire in the next two years, further compounding what many in the aviation industry consider to be a pilot shortage.
Among those who say the shortage is real is the Regional Airline Association, which praised the proposal. RAA President Faye Malarkey Black told Reuters the retirement age increase “the one solution that will immediately mitigate the pilot shortage, particularly the captain shortage, which is an even more acute constraint within a constraint.” The Air Line Pilots Association opposes the increase and has said airline mismanagement is behind the flight cancellations and disruptions of the last year.