Sen. Lindsey Graham has mandated pilot retirement age of 67. introduced legislation to increase

A pilot looks at a departure board at Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) on Monday, January 3, 2022 in Newark, New Jersey.

Christopher Ochicon | Bloomberg | Getty Images

as a country pilot shortage fuel flight cutLindsey Graham is introducing legislation that would increase the mandatory retirement age for commercial airline pilots from 65 to 67.

The “Let Experienced Pilots Fly Act” would require pilots over the age of 65 to maintain a first-class medical certification that needs to be renewed every six months.

Graham, R.C., told a news conference Monday, “We have to queue more people to be pilots, but we have to adjust our age reasonably rationally to have people in the cockpit.” ” , “Other countries allow people to fly to 67s and beyond. And I believe this is a bipartisan issue.”

The proposed law would not replace any other pilot qualifications and would require airlines to continue to use training and qualification programs approved by the Federal Aviation Administration.

The FAA did not immediately comment on the law. In 2007, the mandatory retirement age for airline pilots was raised from 60 to 65.

Airlines offered early retirement packages during the COVID-19 pandemic following pilot shortages as demand for travel disappeared and training and licensing slowed. Airlines were staring at a wave of retirements even before the pandemic.

Now, Major American Airlines are scrambling for ways to attract and train pilots faster, Airlines have also offered scholarships and opened in the case of United flight training academy To help train more pilots and reduce the financial burden on students.

Earlier in the year, Delta Airlines To join other airlines, it stopped requiring a four-year college degree for its pilots. And in April, regional carrier Republic Airways petitioned the US government to allow pilots with 750 flight hours to fly for its airline — half the 1,500 hours requirement if they go through its training program. . There is an exemption from the 1,500-hour rule, such as for military pilots.

Some regional airlines, including American Airlines, recently announced big pay bumps To attract and retain pilots.

Training for potential pilots is expensive and time-consuming, a major deterrent for airlines desperate for pilots. It costs approximately $92,000 for pilots to obtain their initial license in a seven-month full-time program at the country’s largest flight school, ATP Flight School. It can take an additional 18 months or more for a pilot to make enough hours to fly.

Since 2019, 71% of airports have lost flights, said Drew Remos, senior director of government affairs for the regional airline association, at a press conference on Monday. He said services at nine airports have come to a complete standstill.

“Under this law, approximately 5,000 pilots will have the opportunity to fly over the next two years, and in turn, help keep communities connected to the air transportation system,” Remos said. “And as early retirement grows, that number will provide even greater relief.”

Graham said Monday that over the next four years, 14,000 pilots will be forced to retire because of the mandatory retirement age of 65.

— CNBC’s Leslie Joseph contributed to this article