Japan Raises Age Limit for Pilots to 67
The rise of budget airlines in Asia is said to be one reason why Japan today said it was raising the maximum age limit for pilots of commercial airliners to 67 from its current 65.
According to Agency France Presse (AFP), Japan has 5,900 airline pilots, including 500 aged 60 or over. The increase of low-cost carriers and a need for more pilots created the shortage which, the news agency said, resulted in several thousand cancelled flights in Japan last ear.
“We are aiming to ease a shortage while still ensuring safety,” a transport ministry official told AFP.
There will be some restrictions in place, however. Flying time for older pilots to will be limited to 80 percent of the normal maximum of 100 hours per month, meaning 80 hours per month, or a total of 216 hours over a three-month period, which works out to 72 percent of the normal maximum.
In addition, if a pilot of a commercial airline is 65 or older, the co-pilot must be 59 or younger.
While many say this is neither surprising nor troubling – Australian aviation expert Neil Hansford told AFP that “65 is very common now,” – it nonetheless has trigged an age debate.
On JapanToday.com, where the story was posted, commenters went back and forth on the merits of raising the age limit.
“This is good,” wrote one commenter. “Today's 60s are too young to retire. Experienced pilots of age 60s who clear health check should be the major force at work place not only cockpits but also everywhere.”
Another agreed, saying “As long as they pass a rigorous health and safety check I have no problem with this.”
But one dissenter said, “Older can mean more experienced, to be sure...it can also mean a bunch of mentally absent-minded pilots in charge of our lives. No thank you.”
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