Three US Airways Pilots Try to Force FAA Retirement Rule Change

April 2, 2007 ( - Even though the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has signaled its intention to end its historical age 60 pilot retirement rule, a new legal action is trying to force such an action immediately.

Three US Airways pilots – Lewis J. Tetlow of Bedford, New Hampshire; Richard C. Morgan of Charlottesville, Virginia; and Joseph G. LoVecchio, Lancaster, Pennsylvania; are asking a court to direct FAA Administrator Marion Blakey “to issue a decision on each respondent’s pending request for an exemption from a regulation forbidding him from flying as a pilot for his employer after his sixtieth birthday.”

The legal action is being supported by the newly created Senior Pilots Coalition (SPC), a group of more than 300 pilots who are seeking to end age discrimination at U.S. airlines, according to a news release announcing the three pilots’ decision to go to court. The Senior Pilots Coalition is warning that “Age 60 Rule” is threatening to strip America’s airways of 5,000 or more of its most experienced pilots over the next two or so years.

Tetlow said: “The ‘Age 60 Rule’ is an open-and-shut example of age-based discrimination of the worst and most blatant kind. Trust me when I say that these experienced and well-seasoned professionals are not the pilots that Americans want to see given their walking papers.”

Among the three plaintiffs,

  • Tetlow, who turned 60 on Monday, is the president and treasurer of the SPC.
  • Morgan will be 60 on May 21, 2007.
  • LoVecchio will be 60 on January 30, 2008.

Even though Blakey acknowledged in a speech on January 30, 2007 that “the time has come” to change the retirement age rule (See FAA Chief Releases Pilot Retirement Change Proposal ), the three pilots charged that her office has proposed a “vague timetable” for action and has refused to grant individual exemptions to the rule during the interim.

A copy of the pilots’ legal filing is here .