Lawmakers push to raise pilot retirement age, FAA polls public on seat size
JIMMIE JOHNSON: WEATHER DELAYS. PILOT SHORTAGES. FLIGHT CANCELLATIONS.
DESPITE THE AIRLINE AILS, NEIL LEONARD IS STILL TRAVELING FOR WORK.
HIS MOST RECENT FLIGHT WAS FOR A CONFERENCE IN OMAHA.
NEIL LEONARD: “So, it’s been interesting with all the cancellations and flights in all. I was more apprehensive about coming”
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM: ”We have a crisis when it comes to airline travel. We have a pilot shortage and those who say we don’t, well, there just full of it because they’re misleading the public.”
JOHNSON: SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM ALONG WITH A GROUP OF REPUBLICAN LAWMAKERS SAY THEY HAVE A SOLUTION. IT’S CALLED THE LET EXPERIENCED PILOTS FLY ACT.
IT WOULD RAISE THE MANDATORY RETIREMENT AGE FOR COMMERCIAL PILOTS FROM AGE 65 TO 67- IN A MOVE TO ADDRESS A SHORTAGE OF PILOTS. IN 2007, CONGRESS UNANIMOUSLY UPPED THE AGE FROM 60 TO 65.
LEONARD: “Americans are living longer, working longer. So, as long as they have the capacity to fly a plane with everyone on aboard safely I’m all about it.”
JOHNSON: BUT THE ALLIED PILOTS ASSOCIATION, WHICH REPRESENTS 14-THOUSAND AMERICAN AIRLINES PILOTS DISAGREES.
CAPT. DENNIS TAJER: “When it was changed before we came to the international standard of 65. This is different. This was a failure to plan for the recovery and now these wild ideas are coming out. Number one, as Secretary Buttigieg said, ‘This is not nestled in safety, and for safety reasons we’re going to focus on getting new pilots on the flight deck.”>
JOHNSON: “as airlines work to get more pilots in the sky on the ground, the f-a-a has some overdue homework of its own, seeking public comments on seat size standards. an order congress tasked the agency to address since 20-18. it’s something passengers have mixed feelings about.”
MADALINE ANGEL: “I never really thought about like the size of the seats.”
EVAN SMITH: “Obviously due to my personal size, I prefer for there to be more room.”
JOHNSON: FLYERS RIGHTS, AN AIRLINE PASSENGER ADVOCACY GROUP, ESTIMATES, “…ONLY 20% OF THE POPULATION CAN REASONABLY FIT IN THESE SEATS NOW. IT’S BEYOND A MATTER OF COMFORT, OR EVEN EMERGENCY EVACUATION, THERE ARE SERIOUS HEALTH AND SAFETY ISSUES WHEN YOU’RE PUT IN CRAMPED CONDITIONS FOR HOURS ON END.”
A CONCERN FOR BUSINESS TRAVELERS LIKE LEONARD.
THE F-A-A WILL ALLOW 90-DAYS FOR PUBLIC COMMENTS. HOWEVER, IT DOESN’T MEAN THEY WILL COME TO AN AGREEMENT ON SEAT SIZE STANDARDS.