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Allied Pilots Association Refutes Study Claiming Economic Benefit Would Result from Raising Pilot Retirement Age.

'Study Sidesteps Real Reason for Age 60 Retirement Co the Safety of the Traveling Public'

FORT WORTH, Texas -- The Allied Pilots Association (APA), collective bargaining agent for the 13,000 pilots of American Airlines (NYSE:AMR), has published an analytical review rebutting "A Cost Benefit Analysis of S.65 and Reforming the Age 60 Rule on the Federal Government" by Darryl Jenkins. To review APA's rebuttal, visit and click on the link entitled "Fatal Flaws Invalidate Conclusions of Jenkins Report on the Age 60 Rule" in the "Issue Watch" section.

The Jenkins document, dated July 24, 2006, was circulated among members of Congress and other interested parties. Pending legislation in Congress calls for raising the mandatory pilot retirement age, which has long been age 60.

"Mr. Jenkins' work erroneously assumes that the federal government loses Social Security and income tax revenue when a pilot retires at age 60. When one pilot retires, another pilot replaces him Co just as in any other industry when workers retire," said Captain Ralph Hunter, APA president. "The job itself doesn't go away. After all, when was the last time anyone saw an airliner flying around with an empty cockpit seat?"

Hunter noted that Jenkins' analysis ignores the fact that it's irrelevant to the Social Security Administration whether a retiree begins receiving Social Security benefits at age 62 and a half or waits until age 65. If the retiree elects to receive benefits as soon as they're eligible Co at age 62 and a half Co the Social Security Administration reduces their monthly benefit accordingly. The Social Security Administration's total obligation does not increase.

"Many pilots who retire at age 60 work in some other capacity after retirement, resulting in a net positive for the federal government, versus the deficit Mr. Jenkins purports," Hunter said. "The retired pilot continues earning income and continues to pay Social Security tax and federal income tax."

According to Hunter, Jenkins completely sidesteps the overriding reason behind age 60 retirement Co the safety of the traveling public. Since the Federal Aviation Administration's 1959 introduction of mandatory retirement at age 60 for airline pilots, not one single airline accident has been attributed to the sudden or subtle effects of aging. The FAA does not support any increase in the mandatory retirement age.

"We sympathize with those pilots who wish to extend their working careers, but public safety must take precedence over financial considerations," he said. "Other safety-sensitive occupations in the United States also have mandatory retirement ages, including air traffic controllers, who must retire at age 56.

"As firsthand observers of the very real impact of aging on pilot skills, the majority of our nation's commercial airline pilots support the existing policy," Hunter said.

Recent proposals by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to increase the mandatory retirement age for non-U.S. pilots require that one pilot in the cockpit be under the age of 60.

"Despite its support for raising pilot retirement age, even ICAO evidently has questions about how old is too old," Hunter added.

Founded in 1963, APA is headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas. There are currently 2,852 American Airlines pilots on furlough. The furloughs began shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. Also, several hundred American Airlines pilots are on full-time military leave of absence serving in the armed forces. The union's Web site address is American Airlines is the nation's largest passenger carrier.
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Sep 29, 2006
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