Ban On Older Pilots Could Be Lifted

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Airline pilots may soon be allowed to fly past age 60.

The top aviation regulator is considering a report, released Tuesday, that outlines arguments for and against the change. Federal Aviation Administration chief Marion Blakey is expected to announce a decision soon, said spokeswoman Alison Duquette.

Some pilot groups have been lobbying Congress and the FAA to raise the retirement age. They say there is no medical reason to force pilots to quit at 60, and that pilots need to work longer because their wages and pensions have been slashed.

Other pilot groups, including the largest union, say such a change could compromise safety.

In September, Blakey ordered a forum of airline, labor and medical experts to recommend whether the United States should raise the age limit. That group simply issued the report giving both sides of the argument.

The FAA is reacting in part to the United Nations group that governs international aviation, the International Civil Aviation Organization. ICAO raised the international standard for pilots' retirement age to 65 on November 23.

Since then, the FAA has allowed pilots older than 60 to fly foreign airliners into the U.S.

The age 60 rule has been in place since 1960.