Aviation: Forcing pilots to retire at 60 is age discrimination, the European Court of Justice ruled on Tuesday.
Three Lufthansa pilots filed a complaint in Germany after being forcibly retired when they turned 60, in accordance with the airline and union’s collective bargaining agreement. However, the Kirchberg-based court said the practice goes against EU labour law.
In 2006, worldwide aviation regulations--which have been incorporated into German law--raised airline pilots’ retirement age from 60 to 65. However, the older pilot must be part of a multi-pilot crew with the other pilots being under 60. The same rules prohibit commercial pilots working over 65.
In its ruling, the ECJ noted that “international and German legislation considered that it was not necessary to prohibit pilots from acting as pilots after the age of 60 but that it sufficed merely to restrict those activities. The Court therefore holds that the prohibition on piloting after that age, provided for by the collective agreement, is not a necessary measure for the protection of public health and security.”
A spokesman for LuxairGroup told Delano that normal retirement age for pilots in Luxembourg is 65. However, the company does not need to face the over-60 question at the moment. Luxair experienced a generational shift several years ago, with a significant number of its pilots retiring at the end of the 1990s. Currently the carrier’s oldest pilot is 57, the spokesman said.
Regulators in the United States, which had mandatory airline pilot retirement at 60 from 1959 to 2007, adopted a dual-standard. While international flights are allowed to have only one over-60 pilot--per international standards--both pilots can be over-60 on domestic-only routes.