FAA Administrator Mike Whitaker has asked Congress to leave the current mandatory age-65 retirement age for airline pilot alone until the agency has studied the idea more. Whitaker sent a letter to Congress warning against what might be growing momentum toward boosting it to 67. “It is crucial to provide the agency an opportunity to conduct research and determine mitigations,” Reuters quoted the letter as saying. Last month Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg expressed similar sentiments in letter to Congress saying it would make the U.S. an outlier in the international aviation community and cause problems down the line.
The Senate Commerce Committee is considering a hearing on Thursday to discuss the change and the House has already supported such a move in an overwhelming bipartisan vote last July. The issue is now part of negotiations toward a five-year reauthorization bill for the FAA. The agency is currently being funded by extensions of its previous reauthorization, the latest of which has a little more than a month before it expires. Whitaker will appear at a Tuesday meeting of the House’s aviation subcommittee where he’s expected to be questioned about recent aviation safety incidents.
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